This takes trying to win a souvenir to the next level!
The 2020 IPL season is finally underway, and if the first couple of matches are anything to go by, we are in for an exciting season.
Let’s highlight some of the important players for each team.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson
Watson is a seasoned campaigner who has been involved in the IPL since its inaugural season in 2008 when he tasted success with the Rajasthan Royals. He had a brief stint at Royal Challengers Bangalore before moving to CSK in 2018, where he was once again part of a championship team. His 117 not out in the final was a major contributor to the victory. Watson has had a strike rate of 120 or above in all but one season.
Further down the order, it would be remiss not to mention the beloved man of Indian cricket, MS Dhoni. His demeanour is as cool as a cucumber and he is the perfect person to guide his troops home if things get sticky.
Delhi Capitals: Marcus Stoinis
A new addition to the Delhi Capitals in 2020 is West Australian Marcus Stoinis. And what a start he has made, with 53 from 21 balls in his first outing. Stoinis has the ability to explode at any given time with the bat and is also a handy bowler, complementing his 53 with 2-29. He’s a great pick-up for the Capitals and definitely one to watch this season.
Kings Punjab XI: Chris Gayle
Although not selected in their first game, the self-proclaimed ‘universe boss’ Chris Gayle is a massive weapon for KPXI. His highest score in the IPL is 175 not out and his strike rate in 2019 was 153.60, which was slightly above his overall average. What you see is what you get with the 41-year-old big Jamaican who can still fire up when it counts.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Andre Russell
KKR might not have a team of superstars, but they are a squad of solid performers. Coming back for his seventh season for the Knight Riders is Andre Russell. Playing 14 matches last year, Russell had a strike rate of over 200 with the bat, but he can also turn a game with the ball. He is a classy all-rounder, as his stats show, and with a best bowling performance of 4-20 in 2016, he will be keen to emulate this in 2020.
Mumbai Indians: Trent Boult
Having come from the Delhi Capitals, this will be Trent Boult’s first season with Mumbai, and he will be one to watch. Blessed with pace and accuracy, the tall left-armer had a disappointing season last year, with only five wickets in total, down from 18 in 2018. No doubt he will be looking to impress at his new team. Boult is a proven performer over the years, with a T20 bowling average of 27.42 and an even better international T20 average of 21.89.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: AB de Villiers
How lucky is the cricketing public to be able to watch AB de Villiers? This will be his tenth season with RCB, and with a highest score of 133 not out, he has the ability to turn it on like no other. If he has a few good innings, look out! A few teams breathed a sigh of relief when De Villiers announced his retirement from international cricket in 2018, but he still plays T20 tournaments around the world. It will be interesting to see if South Africa can lure him out one last time for the T20 World Cup next year. We can only hope.
RCB had a very disappointing season in 2019, so much so that De Villiers and India’s other favourite son, Virat Kohli, issued an apology to their fans on social media. Their bitter disappointment should be a driving factor behind a much-improved team this year, and if these two get into a rhythm together at the crease, the sky’s the limit.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner
The end of the English summer didn’t pan out quite as well as David Warner had hoped. With a top score of 57, his other innings were not up to his standard. However, Warner has the ability to turn things around in an instant, and it will be exciting to see if he can rekindle the bromance of 2019 with English opener Jonny Bairstow. If they can pick up where they left off, the Sunrisers will be hard to beat.
They also have a not-so-secret weapon in their bowling arsenal with Afghan superstar Rashid Khan. Khan started in the IPL in 2017 and has amassed 55 wickets over three seasons, including a double-wicket maiden against the Delhi Capitals in 2019.
Rajasthan Royals: Andrew Tye
West Australian AJ Tye had a forgettable season last year. Playing only six matches for KPXI, he will be eager to redeem himself with his new club. Tye missed the whole of the 2019-20 BBL season with the Perth Scorchers due to a ruptured ligament in his right elbow that required surgery. The late start to the IPL season has given Tye the opportunity to completely heal, and he will be a tricky customer to deal with if he can get his confidence back up and his bowling average back down.