The IPL is finally here with the first match taking place between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings on Saturday. Mumbai have already lifted the trophy most number of times " four while Chennai are three-time champions under inspirational captain MS Dhoni.
Before the match, let's take a look at a few eye-catching statistics:
CSK " Suresh Raina's absence, MS Dhoni's performance against spinners
Suresh Raina has been the backbone of CSK over the years. He decided not to be part of IPL 2020 due to personal reasons and left the squad soon after landing in UAE. It can have a big impact on CSK's title claim this season. He has scored 350-plus runs in all IPL seasons. The least he scored in an IPL season is 374 (2015) and the most he scored in an edition is 548. On top of that, he is the second highest run-getter in IPL behind Virat Kohli (5412) with 5368 runs. He has scored 91.41 percent of his runs coming to bat at No 3.
Dhoni's overall strike-rate against spinners is 115.38. Since 2016, it is 107.12 His strike-rate against off-spinners reduced from 118.2 (overall) to 80.5 since 2016. Overall, his 27.84 percent of dismissals are against spinners but since 2016, that number has gone up to 42.31 percent. Moreover, spinners play a key role in 11-15 overs where Dhoni's strike-rate has always been a problem and in recent years, it has decreased further. It was 112.1 till 2015 but since then it is 100.3. CSK management's approach in using Dhoni for this year's IPL will decide the direction of the tournament for them.
KKR " Morgan, Karthik and Russell in death overs
KKR has one of the best finishing trio among all the squads in this year's IPL. Eoin Morgan's strike-rate in T20Is in overs between 11-15 and 16-20 is 145.3 and 191.6 respectively. He has hit 81.98 percent of his T20Is sixes in overs between 11-20.
All-rounder Andre Russell is striking at 162.9 and 209.1 in overs between 11-15 and 16-20 in IPL. He has hit 64.16 percent of his IPL career sixes in death overs. KKR can look forward to using him as a floater. Dinesh Karthik's death overs overall strike-rate is 165.8 and last season, it was 187.2. It gives an indication regarding the depth in KKR's lineup as far as finishing games is concerned.
RCB " Kohli, AB and all-rounders
Virat Kohli is the leading run-getter in IPL with 5,412 runs. However, he is not the leading run-getter in IPL since 2018. He is number four in the list with 994 runs at an average of 39.76. Alongside Kohli, AB de Villiers has helped RCB to win so many games so far. He has scored 922 runs at an average of 48.53 and a strike-rate of 164.06 in IPL in the last two years. The key for RCB will be the batting positions of these two greats of the game alongside all-rounders. They have Washington Sundar, Moeen Ali and Chris Morris. Washington Sundar is known to keep the pressure and take wickets in Powerplay overs. However, he has only taken a wicket in PP overs from 22 overs in IPL at an economy rate of 7.95. Moeen can play in any team as a pure batsman as his strike-rate in death overs in T20Is is 156.9. He is a potential option for the finisher's role in the team along with Morris who was primarily selected in the team for his death bowling. His overall death bowling economy rate in IPL is 8.54. However, since 2018, it has become 9.05.
SRH " Warner-Bairstow partnership
David Warner and Jonny Bairstow added four century stands for SRH in IPL 2019. They added 791 runs at an average of 79.10 from 10 innings. The bonus for SRH is Warner's consistency. He has scored 500-plus runs in IPL each of the last six seasons. However, since 2018, SRH's middle-order (4-7) batting average of 20.58 is the second lowest among all the teams. This year they have heavily invested in young Indian players to solve their middle-order woes " Virat Singh, Priyam Garg and Abdul Samad.
RR " Jos Buttler and average squad age
Rajasthan Royals' top-order's (1-3) batting average of 36.68 is the second highest among all the teams since 2018. They have Buttler who has amassed 541 runs between overs (1-5) at a strike-rate of 162.0 in IPL. He is also good in death overs (16-20), scoring 230 runs at an average of 176.9. The average age of the squad is 26 years 164 days which makes them the youngest team this season.
MI " Rohit Sharma batting position debate
In IPL, Rohit Sharma has batted as an opener, at No 3, No 4, No 5 and No 6. His strike-rate of 143.62 is the highest which came while at No 5. He has scored 48.83 percent of his IPL runs while batting at No 4. However, he should be opening the innings where his average of 35.10 in IPL among all the positions that he has batted. Another striking data point is MI's squad's spinners' average T20 experience. MI's spinners' average number of T20 matches played is 42.6 which is the second lowest among all the teams. It will be interesting to see how big an impact it will have this season.
KXIP " Rahul to lead from the front, Maxwell's love for UAE
KL Rahul has scored 1,252 runs at an average of 54.43 and a strike-rate of 146.60 in the last two years in IPL from 28 innings " the most by any player. He has hit 13 fifty-plus scores in IPL during the period which is also a record. Glenn Maxwell, who was recently named as Man of the Series against England, has also performed impressively in IPL matches which took place in UAE. He has amassed 300 runs at an average of 60 and a strike-rate of 201.34.
DC " Pant is the trump card, spinners' experience is key
Rishabh Pant has hit 88 sixes in IPL since 2017 which is the most by any player. His strike-rate in IPL during death overs is 226.1. He has scored 50-plus runs thrice in death overs in IPL. Delhi Capitals' spinners have played 142 average number of T20s " the second highest among all the teams. The trio of Axar Patel, Amit Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin could prove handy in this season.