The show begins

Buzz missing but IPL aims to bring normality amid pandemic

The show begins

Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni before the final of the 2019 edition. This year’s edition will kick off with a clash between Sharma’s Mumbai Indians and Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings. File

MUMBAI, September 18

After months of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the delayed season of the Indian Premier League will kick off in the United Arab Emirates tomorrow with a clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.

2019’s top performers

  • Most Valuable Player: Andre Russell (KKR) 369 points

  • Orange Cap: David Warner (SRH) 692 runs

  • Purple Cap: Imran Tahir (CSK) 26 wickets

  • Highest Score: Jonny Bairstow (SRH) 114

  • Best Bowling Figures: Alzarri Joseph (MI) 6/12

The 2020 edition of the world’s richest T20 league was originally scheduled to begin on March 29 in India but had to be postponed indefinitely by the country’s cricket board (BCCI) due to worsening situation of the pandemic. IPL’s cancellation would have meant a potential $534 million loss in revenue, leading the board to shift the tournament out of India, which is the world’s second-worst affected country with over 5 million cases of coronavirus infections.

The postponement of this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia because of the pandemic also helped. It presented a window in the international cricket calendar for the eight-team league, which is attended by most of the world’s top players. The matches will be held in bio-secure bubbles in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in front of empty stands but organisers are hoping to allow some fans during the later stages of the tournament, which will end on November 10.

While it will be impossible to create the usual carnival-like atmosphere in the stands, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly felt organising the event was an attempt to bring normality to people’s life in India. “Crowds will watch it on television ... they (broadcasters) are actually expecting the highest rating of IPL this season because they believe if (people) don’t turn up in the ground, they will be actually watching on their television sets,” former India captain Ganguly said. — Reuters


The teams

MUMBAI INDIANS

  • Last year: Champions
  • Best finish: Champions (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019)
  • Captain: Rohit Sharma
  • Coach: Mahela Jayawardene (Fourth year)
  • Marquee players: Chris Lynn, Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult, Suryakumar Yadav, Sherfane Rutherford, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rahul Chahar

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

  • Last year: Runners-up
  • Best finish: Champions (2010, 2011, 2018)
  • Captain: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  • Coach: Stephen Fleming (10th year)
  • Marquee players: Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwyane Bravo, Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Sam Curran, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shardul Thakur, Josh Hazlewood, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Kedar Jadhav

DELHI CAPITALS

  • Last year: Third
  • Best finish: Third (2009, 2012, 2019)
  • Captain: Shreyas Iyer
  • Coach: Ricky Ponting (Third year)
  • Marquee players: Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada (in pic), Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

  • Last year: Fourth
  • Best finish: Champions (2016)
  • Captain: David Warner
  • Coach: Trevor Bayliss (First year)
  • Marquee players: David Warner, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson (in pic), Vijay Shankar, Virat Singh, Jonny Bairstow, Priyam Garg, Mitchell Marsh, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Sandeep Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

  • Last year: Fifth
  • Best finish: Champions (2012, 2014)
  • Captain: Dinesh Karthik
  • Coach: Brendon McCullum (First year)
  • Marquee players: Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Shivam Mavi, Andre Russell (in pic), Dinesh Karthik, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy, Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine

KINGS XI PUNJAB

  • Last year: Sixth
  • Best finish: Runners-up (2014)
  • Captain: KL Rahul
  • Coach: Anil Kumble (First year)
  • Marquee players: Karun Nair, Chris Gayle (in pic), Mayank Agarwal, Deepak Hooda, Glenn Maxwell, KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Jordan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

RAJASTHAN ROYALS

  • Last year: Seventh
  • Best finish: Champions (2008)
  • Captain: Steve Smith
  • Coach: Andrew McDonald (First year)
  • Marquee players: Steve Smith, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Andrew Tye, Jofra Archer, Kartik Tyagi, Jaydev Unadkat

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

  • Last year: Eighth
  • Best finish: Runners-up (2009, 2011, 2016)
  • Captain: Virat Kohli (in pic)
  • Coach: Simon Katich (First year)
  • Marquee players: Virat Kohli, Aaron Finch, AB de Villiers, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Parthiv Patel, Dale Steyn, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa

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