By Kyle Jones
The Board of Control for Cricket in India released the fixture list for this year’s Indian Premier League season on Monday, and there are some particularly interesting matchups to keep on your radar.
Mumbai Indians are heavy favorites to repeat as champions this season, but which other teams will keep the season interesting?
Here are three games to get excited for this season …
Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings (March 29)
Picking the season opener seems a bit cheap, but after these two teams battled until the final ball of the IPL Final it makes sense.
Mumbai was able to win on a last-ball wicket last season and their squad remains similar. Rohit Sharma leads the line with Jasprit Bumrah and the Pandya brothers in support.
Chennai is led by IPL legend MS Dhoni, supported by South African Faf du Plessis, and can also rely on Ravindra Jadeja, who had a successful international campaign in the off-season.
Execution will be key and both teams will be looking to start the season off strong. Expect to see top class play, and maybe a bit of animosity held over from last year’s final.
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders (April 16)
Kolkata could be considered incredibly unlucky to miss out on the postseason last year, tying Sunrisers on points but losing on Net Run Rate. These are two mid-to-high table teams who will surely be battling for the last spot in the playoffs.
The Knight Riders will rely heavily on Australian Pat Cummins, who they acquired at the IPL Auction for 15.50 Crore, as well as New Zealander Lockie Ferguson.
For Sunrisers, execution from their captain Jonny Bairstow, Rashid Khan and Kane Williamson will be the deciding factor.
This match comes late in the season, and could say a whole lot about who will be playing postseason cricket this year.
Delhi Capitals vs Kolkata Knight Riders (April 19)
Similar to Kolkata’s match against Sunrisers, this late season fixture will most likely go a long way in deciding the top four at the end of the season.
Delhi can count on Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw to put in solid performances throughout the season, but the rest of the squad will have to step up.
Kolkata just missed out on the top four last year, so look for them to be more aggressive this season. They’ll be going for high scores which leaves them vulnerable, and the Capitals have bowlers like Ishant Sharma, who averages a wicket per game, that can take advantage.
There’s plenty of intriguing cricket to enjoy this season, be it these three matches or others. Regardless of which match you watch, you’re in for an exciting experience.
Edited by Emma Moloney | email@example.com