The month-long cricket festival is just around the corner, so it's time to shake up your schedule with some fun field days. Many big names are playing the second leg of the tournament in Dubai this September, and they're joined by new names that you can look forward to cheering for, like Steven Smith, Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis, and Jacques Kallis. For our IPL prediction, it is a bit cliche to start a post saying "anything can happen," but that is the case here. Several teams have a chance to qualify for Week 9 of the IPL 2021 tournament. Today we'll take a look at four of those teams.
These teams will likely qualify for the playoffs
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore had a successful start to this year's IPL despite the absence of AB de Villiers, who is yet to debut for them, and Chris Gayle, who isn't part of the team anymore. The Kohli-led side has managed to win their first four matches, including a defeat of Mumbai Indians on their home turf, and they don't look like losing any time soon.
The likes of Devdutt Padikkal, Glenn Maxwell, and Harshal Patel have been playing consistently well so far, although their lower-than-average score rate might become an issue if they can't get more than 120 runs in their remaining games. It’ll be interesting to watch how this turns out, but we expect RCB to finish with five wins in this edition!
Mumbai Indians are currently at the 4th position in the points table, having won with four victories and thus a positive run-rate which has its advantages later on. This team has a star-studded lineup and is undefeated in IPL history; maybe their experience counts for something as well.
The Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma knows a thing or two about how to advance into playoffs, and they performed admirably in the UAE pitches last year. But they will have tough competition from Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Rajasthan Royals. They may be able to edge out these teams through their balanced roster.
Delhi Capitals is in a unique situation right now. Currently, they are at the top of the points table with six wins and two losses, so we may see them gaining that all-important playoff spot in just a little over a week into this tournament.
Why they have been able to do so well in this year's season is because of their third-most successful run rate and because they have received far fewer runs than most teams yet still managed to win by such huge margins. This speaks volumes about how well their batsmen have performed this season.
The team has a strong Indian squad, in contrast to the overseas players, and their regular skipper Shreyas Iyer has confirmed his participation in this tournament. Their opening pair of Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan have been scintillating to watch, and it won't be a surprise if they go on to win their first title this year.
Chennai Super Kings
The Chennai Super Kings finished last year's Indian Premier League with mediocre numbers. A part of their success this season will be attributed to the performances of Suresh Raina, who played exceptionally well in the tournament - his average was enough to get all of us excited about him once again!
Apart from this, they did not bring back too many team members, which is not necessarily a bad thing because it gives them time to focus on more new additions instead. They already have more runs than most other teams.
It looks like they will almost undoubtedly make it into the playoffs if they play well during the remaining few matches - one might even say that this is essentially their game to lose. On top of all this, there's news that Moeen Ali will be playing for them, with his performance having an impact on both these recent games and what is yet to come.
Kolakata Knight Riders
They've won the IPL twice already in 2012 and 2014, so even though they have made some significant changes to their squad, it can never be ruled out of lifting the trophy this season. They have Eoin Morgan, one of the best leaders in the sport, and all-rounders Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. There's batsman Shakib al-Hasan, too, who's been a part of plenty of high-scoring teams.
Even though India has lost a lot of talent from their team, including star players MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma - there are still Shubman Gill, Karun Nair, and Kuldeep Yadav that will add plenty to the team. However, these overseas players cannot carry them to victory on their own this season.
They have a star-studded team and have brought in Chris Morris to take wickets for them. The Sunrisers showed their ambition by signing a key bowler over a batsman, which shows their importance in finding someone who can contribute when defending an innings total.
However, things did turn for the worse when Ben Stokes suffered an injury that ruled him out of the rest of the tournament after just one match - losing such a valuable player at such an early juncture certainly didn't help their cause.
Whilst David Miller and Mustafizur Rahman both look like quality international players. There's no denying it feels like things haven't fully clicked for this team despite having several well-known and experienced internationals in their ranks (such as Sanju Samson and Rahul Tewatia).
They find themselves lounging at the bottom of the table right now but are just two points off third place - anything is possible in this league!