The teams: Delhi Daredevils v Kings XI Punjab. Both franchises have been around since the IPL in 2008 and both had opening matches they would like to put behind them very quickly. DD has received a lot of criticism of their team selection, particularly for leaving out JP Duminy and Imran Tahir in favour of Chris Morris and Nathan Coulter-Nile. They may choose to rely on Zaheer and Shami for pace, and bring in Tahir for added spin power. KXIP’s team selection looked alright, but they will need their powerhouses Glenn Maxwell and skipper Miller to fire.
The Venue: Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. The Daredevils have not really been able to establish Kotla as a fortress; this ground historically favours the chasing team. The side batting first will look to post at least 150 on this ground.
The teams: Gujarat Lions v Pune Supergiants. Raina v Dhoni. GL and RPS are the two new kids on the block, both were expected to need time to find their footing and yet both began their IPL careers with victories. Based on their strong starts this is a tough one to predict. Dhoni is the more experienced skipper, though it is often overlooked that Raina has captained Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji trophy, so he isn’t new to leadership.
The Venue: Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. GL’s home stadium, but hard to read given they’ve only ever hosted one T20I – in 2013, which is also when this ground made its ODI debut. It does, however, have a large media capsule just like the one at Lords.
The teams: Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians. Gautam Gambhir v Rohit Sharma. KKR cruised to victory in their first game against the Delhi Daredevils and showed once again that having a settled team in the IPL is priceless. MI, on the other hand, will want to quickly forget their last game against Pune and get their campaign up and running. MI have the knack of starting off slowly in the IPL, only to make unbelievable comebacks towards the back-end. Neither their coaching staff nor their fans will not want it to come down to that again!
The Venue: Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The Eden Gardens pitch has varied quite a bit in the recent past so it will be interesting to see what the curator serves up for this game. The captain winning the toss is likely to take the safe route by chasing.
The teams: Royal Challengers Bangalore v Sunrisers Hyderabad. RCB recently bought Shane Watson to add to a star-studded batting line-up consisting of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. However, RCB’s bowling has always been their weak link and his bowling along with that of Samuel Badree will be a welcome addition. On paper, SRH boast a strong batting line up with Dhawan, Warner and Eoin Morgan, but one can’t help but think that this trio is badly out of form. It will be interesting to see if Trent Boult gets a game.
The Venue: The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. A small ground, covered in RCB colours. Expect a good batting wicket. This is the same ground where the uber talented Rohit Sharma smashed his first ODI double century.
The teams: Kings XI Punjab v Gujarat Lions. A well-established, if sometimes troubled Punjab, vs. the brand new Gujarat franchise. Though Gujarat appears contains strong elements of the old Chennai team, the reality is it’s still a brand new franchise, which may come with its own challenges; although the Rising Pune Supergiants did just fine in their first outing. Both sides are stacked with superstar overseas players, and Punjab appears to have a slightly more settled domestic contingent, except of course for Gujarat’s captain, the most capped IPL player of all time – Suresh Raina.
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