IPL 2019, The Festival is back
In India, they stand at the other end of a week where they are still struggling to get rid of the colour marks from Holi 2019 that just went by and before they could even be successful in wiping off these colours, they are set to celebrate this 2 month long extravaganza that irrespective of any divide brings them all together cheering for their favourite franchise and superstars. Many predict this IPL to be less charismatic because its Election Year back in India and it is closely followed by the World Cup so the availability of major International players seem to be questioned, but hey, This is India and we are talking about IPL. Can the craze ever be less? Of course Not.
IPL 2019 comes at the back of an unparalleled popular franchise hailed as the Dad’s army lifting the trophy last Year led by arguably the GOAT of ’em all, ‘Thalaiva’ as they call him. The Roar of the lion has been heard to the most remote corners of India and now when they travel anywhere chants of CSK,CSK is what the crowds have to reciprocate. Shane Watson carrying the Quetta Gladiators to victory in PSL like he did with CSK last Year has found his old best, Ambati Rayudu, Jadeja , Du Plesis this team is full of match winners which is evident by the fact that this team had 9 different Man of the match players last Year. MSD knows how to bring out the best in his team. Was there ever a question whether CSK will do well in the IPL? If ever there was the answer was Yes. It still is.
You never count MI down as well, they start slow, keep their fans on the edge of their seats and somehow find a way through most of the time. Having an Unorthodox Mumbaikar captain who has had his own fairytale story as captain and one of the most balanced squad that has all bases covered, this season if they are not the favourites, We do not know who is then.
“Ee sala Cup Namde” is the slogan they patiently chant every year before the IPL begins. Just as the IPL begins the superstars of this team start swashbuckling the opposition bowling to all wakes of the crowd. But If You are RCB, No total is ever enough. Blame it on the most difficult ground to play on as a bowler, or their tendency to throw it away(Read choke) when it most matters or the lack of flamboyancy in a copybook captain they have long been boasting off, this team doesn’t just make the cut. This Year though, having the most Non RCB squad ever, the two best Batsman of this generation in red hot form and a captain who has conquered almost everything as a batsman and dying to do it for the fans, expecting another Roar of the Lion is on the cards, but expectations and RCB never seem to go hand in hand. Let’s see how that changes this time.
Sunrisers Hyderabad has been a team that has mostly been hailed as a great bowling and this team can defend a score as low as 120 in Wankhede stadium, the Bowling is that good. Having made some really purse friendly buys this Year and the most balanced squad on paper and the return of their star who led them to glory before bringing out a Sandpaper, David Warner has a point to prove. If he decides to use this tournament as a launching pad to be back in the mix for the spot in OZ contingent that takes the flight to England, add to it the most destructive bowling with the likes of Bhuvi and Rashid and a captain that is so much Kiwi in whatever he does, this team looks set for another brilliant season.
Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo has always been their tagline and the atmosphere they play in at the Eden Gardens, no team likes to be an opposition to them. With a team of 11 and 70k people chanting at the top of their voices, this team with the most calm person leading them and some of the most dangerous hitters in Lynn and Russel boasts of some brutal firepower which keeps them up in contention to have a stellar season. However lack of reserves in Indian bowling and probably very few backup in the later half of the IPL when the World cup preparations start taking the players away from the tournament, It will really rely on their Indian batting lineup if they have to go any far in the tournament. Expect KKR to do well, If Shubhman Gill and Nitish Rana become superstars in the households of the City of Joy at the end of the season and Rinku Singh continues to play as well as he has been in local circuit.
Rajasthan Royals brag about being the only North Indian Franchise to have had a bite at the cherry and have always been a team that everyone loves. Harsha Bhogle very rightly said “Your first team can be anyone, Your second team has to be RR”. With people like Shane Warne and Rahul Dravid in their Dugouts, respect from fans is something they have hardly ever been devoid of. But they no more are the franchise that keeps money available and buy less popular players who in turn go out and have big seasons. Jos Butler, Jofra Archer, Darcy Short, Ashton Turner, Ben Stokes, they now have a side that on it’s day can steamroll any team in the tournament and with a calm head Mumbaikar himself trying to prove that he belongs to the Coveted number 4 spot in Indian cricket team, Ajinkya Rahane looks set to prove his mettle in the limited overs. The lack of Non English and Australian Options will haunt them at some point in the tournament but if they cope with it, they are in with a slender of hope. But Slender is the word that everyone must emphasise while expecting this team to go the distance.
KXIP, who are popular to the rest of the world more so by their Bubbly owner and because of one amazing season they had in 2014 have always been the underdog story of the IPL. Having changed the core of their squad last Year under Virender Sehwag, this team despite starting well lost the plot midway through the season last Year. Having the best Opening pair possible in the tournament, the Universe Boss sending it out of the park, KL Rahul trying to make it back in the Indian scheme of things and an Unconventional captain in R. Ashwin, this team looks heavily armed with their front 11. How their reserves and Indian batting core of Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal performs this season will determine their fate.
“If you can’t change Your game, try changing your name” someone told the Delhi owners to which they responded with a gesture. Delhi Capitals as it is called this time, looks a brilliant team on paper and having all bases covered much like every year. This team always had brilliant players, but could not convert to a brilliant team. The Best Indian talent in Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, The dynamic Gabbar back to this home franchise, Chris Morris and Collin Ingram on the allrounders list and Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult to lead the pace battery, this team is hands down the winner on paper. But You don’t win it on paper. How Saurav Ganguly is able to repeat his gimmick of 2000 with India with this Delhi Capitals team holds the key. There are chances that this team can end the North Indian Drought of trophies this Year, much like it has been every Year. They would definitely want to do away with the past 4 Years performances of the team where they have been squandering at 6,7,7,8 respectively.