Finally, the IPL Cricket Tournament is about to begin. The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 will take place in the United Arab Emirates. The venues are the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, the S. Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and the Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. Eight teams from India, including the defending champions Mumbai Indians, will take part in this tournament. The other seven teams in no particular order are Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings.
Form of Tournament
This tournament starts on Saturday September 19, 2020 and will end on Tuesday November 10, 2020. The IPL league phase has a round-robin style. This means that each time will play the other twice. At the end of the league phase, the top four teams head for the playoffs. At this stage, the first and the second teams meet in the qualifier 1. The winner goes to the final while the loser gets another chance in the qualifier 2. The third and fourth teams face each other in another Eliminator playoff. The loser is out of the tournament while the winner enters the qualifier 2. At this point, the loser of qualifier 1 and the winner of the Eliminator playoff go head to head to determine who emerges as the other finalist. The last two teams standing will meet in the final and the winner becomes the new IPL champion.
Tips and Previews
It is always risky predicting who will win a tournament when it has not even started. However, looking at the stats, trends and current team, one can draw a few safe conclusions. Mumbai Indians are the defending champions. They are the most successful team in the country and they have won the championship four times. They had a good team last season and they have retained all their key players. They have also added some new players to the team. This means they are in pole position to defend the trophy.
A Two-Horse Race
Chennai Super Kings were the runners up last season. They have won three titles and reached eight finals in ten years. They have a good squad and they have added some key men to the team. From every indication, they are not content to play second fiddle to the Mumbai Indians. Chennai Super Kings will definitely challenge the current champions for the trophy this season. This makes the current campaign a two-horse race.
Will There Be Spectators?
A cricket tournament without fans is no fun. Even in this Covid-19 era, it is in the interest of the game to have some spectators in the venues of these matches. The Cricket Board aims to have 50% capacity during these matches. This is an excellent idea but it is subject to approval from the government of the United Arab Emirates.
The IPL 2020 is just around the corner. There is plenty of excitement in the air already and it promises to be a great tournament. As a committed cricket fan, I cannot wait for the fun to begin.