3 things to keep an eye on during the 2016 edition of the IPL
If an entertaining World T20, that was capped by West Indies’ triumphant last-over assault in the final, left cricket fans wanting more of the game’s shortest format, they’re in luck.
Bidding to follow in the footsteps of one of cricket’s most enthralling ever tournaments, the Indian Premier League returns for its ninth campaign.
Intrigue grabbed the event before a ball was even bowled when two ever-present franchises, the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, were suspended for two seasons amid a spot-fixing scandal.
Considering that pair had won three of the previous eight editions, 2016 stands to be one of the most open competitions in IPL history.
Here are three things to watch out for during the season:
An underrated Delhi Daredevils squad
Delhi are the only side from the eight founding franchises yet to reach a final. Sat at the bottom of the betting, at 12/1, it appears another struggle of a season awaits them.
However, three of their squad have claims as some of the most improving limited overs players in the game.
Carlos Brathwaite showed exactly what he can do in pummelling Ben Stokes over the ropes in the World T20 final, Quinton de Kock has been in supreme touch for South Africa at the top of the order, while his teammate Chris Morris is rivalling James Faulkner as an ice-cool finishing all rounder.
With Zaheer Khan in charge and a smattering of useful other options in the squad, the Daredevils could well outperform their price.
Eoin Morgan’s game time
Despite captaining England to a silver medal in the World Cup, Morgan did little with the bat to contribute to his side’s progression.
He has decided to forgo the opening phase of the County Championship in order to play for the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad, but could well spend more time sat on the bench than he does on the field.
Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Kane Williamson and Yuvraj Singh all look to have a solid shout at filling the top four batting spots, leaving the England skipper even more ring rusty by the time the Three Lions entertain Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the summer.
Spin has long been a formidable weapon in 20-over cricket, but the art of the leg break appears to be coming in for a boon.
There are plenty to keep tabs on during IPL 9. Imran Tahir is with the Daredevils and the evergreen Brad Hogg will be tossing up his left-arm chinamen for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Adam Zampa was picked up by new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants and last year’s surprise package, KC Cariappa, returns with Kings XI Punjab.
Don’t be surprised to see any of them towards the top of the most wickets standings.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.