|Dates: 9 April – 30 Could|
|Protection: Chosen radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Reside Sports activities Additional and the BBC Sport web site and app. Common options and a weekly IPL Social column on the BBC Sport web site|
The richest franchise match in world cricket is again on Friday because the Indian Premier League kicks off its 14th version.
International cricketing superstars – together with India icon Virat Kohli and England all-rounder Ben Stokes – will probably be on present within the Twenty20 match, with ball-by-ball radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Reside sports activities further and on-line.
The 2021 IPL returns to India after final yr’s competitors came about within the United Arab Emirates due to Covid-19.
This yr, for no less than the start of the match, matches will probably be performed behind closed doorways. However regardless of the shortage of boisterous Indian crowds and with bio-secure bubbles and quarantine guidelines in place, there’s loads to stay up for…
There are eight franchises representing totally different cities in India, with matches happening in impartial venues throughout six cities: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The competitors begins with Mumbai Indians – the present holders and most profitable staff in IPL historical past – dealing with Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai.
Every squad has a most of eight abroad (non-Indian) gamers however not more than 4 could be chosen in a beginning XI.
The highest 4 sides will then enter the play-offs, with the ultimate happening on 30 Could.
Will Mumbai make it six? And new beginnings for Smith
5-time winners Mumbai Indians are as soon as once more thought of favourites.
They’ve signed India spinner Piyush Chawla, the third highest wicket-taker in IPL historical past, who joins a longtime bowling assault which already contains seamers Trent Boult from New Zealand and India’s Jasprit Bumrah.
With the likes of West Indies’ Kieron Pollard and India duo Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya, you’ll be able to count on excessive scores and loads of large hitting from the Mumbai batting.
Off the sphere, the champions boast a star-studded set-up with former Sri Lanka nice Mahela Jayawardene as head coach and India legend Sachin Tendulkar as a batting mentor.
Having misplaced final yr’s ultimate, Dehli Capitals are nonetheless in quest of their first IPL trophy.
This season they are going to be captained by India’s highly effective wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant after his worldwide team-mate Sheryas Iyer was dominated out by harm.
The massive switch news from Delhi is the signing of Steve Smith, who joins after being launched by Rajasthan Royals.
The batsman will hyperlink up with fellow Australian and Delhi coach Ricky Ponting, with England internationals Chris Woakes, Sam Bilings and Tom Curran additionally within the squad.
Royals and RCB trying to put issues proper
Any staff which options England duo Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler will fancy their possibilities in a T20 competitors, however Rajasthan Royals have made robust work of it in recent times.
Having gained the inaugural season in 2008, Royals completed second from backside in 2019 and in final place in 2020.
South Africa seamer Chris Morris is that this yr’s costliest participant, costing the Royals £1.6m, however England’s Jofra Archer may miss the match by harm.
India batsman Sanju Samson will captain the facet after Smith’s departure, with England batsman Liam Livingstone additionally within the squad.
There might be a possibility for thrilling 19-year-old opener Yashasvi Jaiswal to make a reputation for himself in his second full season with the franchise.
Kohli has not had it straightforward within the IPL, with Royal Challengers Bangalore nonetheless within the hunt for his or her first ever match win.
With Kohli’s batting prowess and the game-changing energy hitting of South Africa’s AB de Villiers, may this be their yr?
They are going to be hoping to higher than their semi-final place from final season, and have made some shrewd signings in 6ft 7in New Zealand seamer Kyle Jamieson and Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.
Captain Morgan and the veterans who’re nonetheless going sturdy
Kolkata Knight Riders endured a disappointing marketing campaign in 2019, which prompted a change in captaincy mid-way by the match as England’s Eoin Morgan took over from India batsman Dinesh Karthik.
World Cup winner Morgan will proceed to guide the facet, with new signings in all-rounders Shakib Al Hasan from Bangladesh and Australia’s Ben Slicing at his disposal.
India’s veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, 40, joins KKR from Chennai Tremendous Kings, the place he didn’t make a single look final yr.
Talking of veterans, 39-year-old MS Dhoni remains to be going sturdy and can captain Chennai Tremendous Kings as soon as once more.
The previous India wicketkeeper-batsman has been an ever-present within the facet because the first version of the IPL.
Sam Curran gained over Chennai followers final yr together with his all-round efficiency, and in 2021 he will probably be joined by England team-mate Moeen Ali who makes the transfer from RCB.
Three-time winners and five-time runners-up, CSK might be a power to be reckoned with as soon as once more.
Sunrisers’ superstars and modifications in Punjab
Sunrisers Hyderabad – who gained the 2016 IPL – are full of explosive worldwide expertise.
With England’s devastating ODI opening duo of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, Australia’s David Warner and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, Sunrisers may nicely have essentially the most thrilling prime order in world cricket.
The franchise additionally boasts the world’s quantity one-ranked T20 bowler in Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, skilled India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the all-round brilliance of West Indies’ Jason Holder.
There have been modifications on and off the sphere for Kings Punjab, with a brand new title and two marquee Australian signings.
The staff beforehand generally known as Kings XI Punjab secured the companies of quick bowlers Riley Meredith – who solely made his worldwide T20 debut in March – for £793,500 and Jhye Richardson for £1.8m.
England’s world quantity one-ranked T20 batsman Dawid Malan may also end up for Punjab, alongside worldwide team-mate Chris Jordan.
And at 41, charismatic former West Indies opener Chris Gayle remains to be plying his commerce in franchise cricket and will probably be hoping to stake his declare within the Punjab facet.
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