Teams to watch out for in the IPL 2019

Teams to watch out for in the IPL 2019

Eight teams will participate in the tournament with Chennai Super Kings going into this year’s edition as defending champions.

Chennai Super Kings IPL
IPL 2018 champions Chennai Super Kings. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is upon us and, with the players’ auction having been concluded, this looks like the perfect time to analyze the squads and make informed tournament predictions. Obviously, each team will be aiming to finish as champions but that can only be achieved by one team.

Eight teams will participate in the tournament with Chennai Super Kings going into this year’s edition as defending champions. They have lifted the trophy a record three times and will be looking to achieve a back-to-back triumph for the second time in the tournament’s history. Having analyzed each team’s exploits in the 2018 IPL and assessed their buys and releases, we have come up with a list of four teams that we reckon stand head and shoulders above the rest and are likeliest to lift the trophy at the end of the 51-day tournament. We will start with the defending champions.

1. Chennai Super Kings

If CSK win the IPL 2019 they will become the first team to win it four times as they are currently joint top with Mumbai Indians who also have three titles under their belt. Mumbai have arguably been the tournament’s most dominant team in recent years having won three of their titles in the space of just six IPL seasons.

Led by coach Stephen Fleming and legendary captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the CSK have the highest all-time win percentage in the IPL and look poised to add to that with the strong squad they are taking into the tournament. The franchise retained their most important players from their title-winning season and made only two purchases in the recently-held auction. Mohit Sharma was the more notable purchase and was brought in to complement Shardul Thakur and Ngidi in the fast bowling lineup. The franchise also boasts one of the most solid team of all-rounders in the likes of Jadeja, Watson, and Bravo, who are handy with bat and ball.

2. Sunrisers Hyderabad

Sunrisers Hyderabad won their first IPL title in 2016 and have remained one of the most feared teams in the tournament since. In the 2018 campaign, they made it to the finals only to lose to a much more organized and experienced Chennai Super Kings side. Captain Kane Williamson was a force to reckon with and will once again lead a superstar batting lineup of Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi, Manish Pandey, Martin Guptill, and David Warner.

The addition of David Warner to the team will surely increase the batting firepower while fresh buy Martin Guptill will be a priceless asset as an opening batsman for the Orange army. Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi, Siddarth Kaul, and Bhuvneshwar will all be crucial fast bowlers in the team while Shakib Al Hasan and Rashid Khan will take care of spin bowling. The Sunrisers Hyderabad have been given a favourite’s backing by top bookies to lift the trophy in May. Visit the SportyTrader website for complete reviews of the bookmakers with the best odds for 2019 IPL betting.

3. Royal Challengers Bangalore

Still, in pursuit of their first IPL title, RCB will be looking to use this coming tournament to end their drought. They have come into virtually all tournaments as favourites to win it and have reached a total of three finals but have no trophy to show for it. AB de Villiers and Kohli will once again be the most important players in the superstar team of the Indian Premier League in the 2019 season.

The franchise bought Shimron Hetmyer to boost the middle order, which was a major let-down in the previous campaign, and Klassen, a seasoned batsman to improve their lower-middle order.

4. Mumbai Indians

Even after finishing fifth in 2018 IPL, Indians cannot be seen as underdogs in the upcoming tournament. They have been known to make the smartest purchases in the pretournament auctions and their recent buys seem to be exactly what they needed to bring a balance to their team and potentially retake the glory. Mumbai have won the title three times, in 2013, 2015, and 2017, and 2019 may be theirs to lose if the lucky series is anything to go by.

Without releasing many of their core players from the 2018 campaign, including captain Rohit Sharma who was at the center of their 2017 title triumph, Mumbai will be fielding a pretty improved squad next season and will sure give Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad a run for their money.

Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was brought in in the auction to add value to the batting lineup while handy batsman Yuvraj Singh was bought to improve the middle order, which was arguably MI’s weakest link in the 2018 campaign. Jasprit Bumrah will now have an equally-good bowling partner in Lasith Malinga, who was also purchased in the most recent trading window.

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