It’s that time of the year again when cricket is perhaps at its glamorous best in the form of the glitzy Indian Premier League. Looking closely at the sporting side of things though, I’m sure this year’s edition will be another interesting and unpredictable tournament. I expect the teams that were strong last year will again be hard to beat. That said, we all know how it is with the T20 format where any side is capable of beating the other on the given day.
Over the course of the tournament, I will particularly be keeping a close eye on the Mumbai Indians who begin their hunt for that elusive first IPL title today against a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore team. When you look at the changes within the Mumbai Indians camp, it’s quite clear the franchise owners have left no stone unturned in their aim to bag a maiden IPL crown.
Ricky Ponting has entered the fray and his proven leadership qualities during his time as Australian captain have clearly left a mark on the team management who have appointed Punter as the Mumbai Indians captain. We all know what a complete player Ricky is and he’s a still a very good player and still very hungry to do well.
I’m sure fans will come in hordes to watch two legends of the modern game in Tendulkar and Ponting bat together. We will of course have to wait and see if that dream partnership proves lethal in reality as I’m not too sure of Sachin’s form seeing as he’s struggled of late. Ponting, on the other hand, enjoyed a good run in the Big Bash League in the Australian summer and I expect him to be the leading run scorer of the tournament.
Mumbai do have some good younger players as well and the signing of 24-year-old Glenn Maxwell in particular was a good move. His inexperience at Test level may have shown during the recent series against India but he is a very exciting T20 player.
He can hit the ball really hard, is a decent bowler and an excellent fieldsman so that’s a pretty good all-round package the Indians have there. The bowling department perhaps is not as strong as their batting so a lot will depend on Lasith Malinga, and having Mitchell Johnson available this time should also add to their armour.
The Royal Challengers also have a host of quality players in Gayle, Kohli, De Villiers, Dilshan and Murali among others. This is essentially a clash between two of the stronger teams in the competition and it’s really 50-50 in terms of who is likely to win it.