IPL 2018 Tournament Preview

With the World T20 done and dusted, the summer has only come alive for yet another lustrous and vibrant cricket event, the Indian Premier League (IPL). Scheduled to kick off on April 9, IPL will be a perfect set up to keep cricket up and running on the Indian soil.

We will take a look at each team and determine which squad looks primed to challenge for the title this year.

Chennai Super Kings IPL 2018 Preview

The most successful IPL franchise is back after a two-year hiatus imposed on it by the courts. They have managed to keep some of the franchise favorites on board like MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, and Ravindra Jadeja. The concern that fans will have is whether they have gone for an aging squad that is beyond its best.

Strengths

The leadership of MS Dhoni. A lot has been written about Dhoni’s ability bring the best in his players and he will have to do exactly that while dealing with some of the untested youngsters in the squad. CSK is quite strong in the batting department.

Shane Watson is an excellent addition to the team. He has just had a very productive BBL and PSL and is in excellent form coming into the IPL. He will need to bat in the top-3 to be the most productive, though.

Murali Vijay is looking for a second lease on his limited-overs career and the opening position at CSk might be his best bet. Suresh Raina is an IPL legend but looked a little twitchy on his comeback into the ODI team.

The likes of Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayadu, MS Dhoni, and Ravindra Jadeja are all excellent batsmen. They will provide CSK with plenty of depth and versatility. Faf du Plessis has been one of the top overseas performers for the franchise but may find it difficult to find a place in the starting eleven.

Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, and Imran Tahir make for an excellent bowling lineup that should be able to take advantage of the slow Chennai track. Bravo had an excellent time in the BBL this year as he continued to flummox batsmen with his mix of slower deliveries. He is another player that is certain to figure in the top wicket-takers list for the season.

Weaknesses

CSK is lacking proven power hitters in their side. MS Dhoni is not the force he once was and Dwayne Bravo is now a bowler who can bat rather than a true all-rounder. The fast bowling lineup is also a little bare.

Shardul Thakur was very expensive for India in the T2 matches he played. He will be asked to lead the pace bowling duties and we think he could struggle in the tournament. Lungi Ngidi or Mark Wood will be the players to find a place in the starting eleven alongside Thakur. Neither of the two is known to be a T20 specialist and could prove to be troublesome for CSK.

The team also does not have too many backup options in case one of its lead players gets injured.

Read more

Betting odds

Chennai Super Kings to win IPL 2018 7.00 Bet at Bet365

Facts

Coach:Stephen Fleming
Captain:MS Dhoni
IPL wins:2
IPL 2017 result:(suspended)

Dehli Daredevils IPL 2018 Preview

The only original franchise to have never reached an IPL final, this could be the year for the Delhi Daredevils. DD has made some excellent picks in the auction and will definitely be one of the most exciting teams to watch out for. Perhaps the biggest change that Delhi made is to rope in Ricky Ponting as coach. The former Aussie legend is one of the canniest minds in the game and is quickly becoming one of the most sought after T20 coaches around the world.

Strengths

Power hitting has to be the biggest strength that the Delhi Daredevils are bringing with them this season. A possible batting lineup that boasts of players like Colin Munro, Glenn Maxwell, Jason Roy, and Rishabh Pant is going to give the opposition nightmares.

Gautam Gambhir will have a tough time picking between Roy and Munro but we think the success that Munro had on his last tour with the New Zealand team should tip the scales in his favor.

DD retained Shreya Iyer, another excellent young Indian batsman, and added Gautam Gambhir to the squad as well. Gambhir is one of the prolific scorers in the IPL and has led KKR to victories in the past. DD will be hoping for some of that magic to rub off on their franchise.

Another definite strength for DD is their fast bowling. Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, and Mohammad Shami look likely to be the starting three for the franchise. Trent Boult, who is in waiting, is also not a bad person to have around! We don’t think there is a better fast bowling lineup in this entire tournament.

Quality spinners like Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, and Jayant Yadav round out the team very nicely. With all bases seemingly covered and some excellent backup players in the squad, this Delhi Daredevils squad is looking absolutely stacked.

Weaknesses

The only weakness that seems apparent at this point in time is a proven Indian batsman in the middle order. As things stand, one of either Vijay Shankar or Gurkeerat Singh will probably play in the starting eleven. Neither of them looks likely to set the IPL on fire with their batting.

Mohammad Shami has also been involved in a bitter public controversy with his wife and suffered some minor injuries in a car accident as well. If he is not in the right frame of mind to be able to give his best then that will upset the balance for the Delhi Daredevils.

Also, with so many batsmen who go hard, DD could face some spectacular collapses if things do not go to plan. Like we said in the beginning, this is going to be one team that will be very exciting to watch!

Read more

Betting odds

Dehli Daredevils to win IPL 2018 12.00 Bet at Betway

Facts

Coach:Ricky Ponting
Captain:Gautam Gambhir
IPL wins:0
IPL 2017 result:6th

Kings XI Punjab IPL 2018 Preview

The auction strategy that the Kings XI Punjab followed seems a little hard to fathom. The franchise has had a horrible last few years and would have been hoping to put together a much better squad of payers this year. Unfortunately, this is one of the only franchises that has visible holes in its team.

Strengths

Kings XI Punjab has gone for some proven match-winners in its side. Aaron Finch at the top, Chris Gayle, David Miller, and Yuvraj Singh are all players that can win matches without anyone else’s help. They also have some fine young Indian players to beef up the batting. Marcus Stoinis is another player that has taken his game to another level in the last year or so. His batting with the Melbourne Stars was breathtaking and he has shown himself to be very adept at whatever role he is assigned. He would be one of the first names on the team sheet in our opinion.

KL Rahul had an excellent season last year with the Royal Challengers. We certainly believe he will use this tournament as an opportunity to press for a more permanent side in the Indian team. Karun Nair is someone we think will do exceedingly well with Punjab. He has done well of DD in the past and is another player motivated by a potential Indian team call-up very soon.

Among the bowlers, Andrew Tye should be a sure starter in the side. Tye dominated the BBL and had an excellent IPL last year. He is probably the one bowler that you can guarantee will be in the running for the Purple cap.

Weaknesses

Kings XI Punjab did not think it was necessary to buy a wicketkeeper who will make the place in the playing 11. KL Rahul is probably going to be saddled with this responsibility. He has done the job before but is known to make a lot of mistakes, particularly to the spinners.

The balance of the team also looks a little off. Aaron Finch, Chris Gayle, and Marcus Stoinis are all players that bat in the top-3. Can you really make one of these three players sit on the bench? Mujeeb Zadran is an exciting young mystery spinner but with Ashwin as captain, finding a place in the starting eleven will once again be tough for him.

The fast bowling stocks of the team look very thin. Tye is class but Barindar Sran and Mohit Sharma don’t really set the pulse racing.

We also have an issue with the choice of captain. Ravichandran Ashwin is regarded as a good thinker of the game but he has not done anything of note as captain so far. He is also a bowler that is currently looking to re-invent himself as a potential leg-spinner. Add to this the selection dilemmas facing him and we think Ashwin may have a very hard time in his first season as captain.

Read more

Betting odds

Kings XI Punjab to win IPL 2018 10.00 Bet at Betway

Facts

Coach:Brad Hodge
Captain:Ravichandran Ashwin
IPL wins:0
IPL 2017 result:5th

Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2018 Preview

Kolkata Knight Riders is another team that we are very excited to follow in IPL 2018. They have put together some of the biggest names in T20 cricket. The team actually spent so much money bidding on just a few big names that they were unable to fill out their squad to the max. With 19 players in the squad, KKR has the least players in its squad this year. If their players can avoid injuries, then that may not be a bad thing.

Strengths

Is there any player that is more dangerous in T20 cricket than Chris Lynn? We don’t think so. The Aussie batsman hits sixes at will and showed how destructive he can be in the IPL last year. He will be a guaranteed starter in the team this year and should get plenty of chances to really leave his mark on the IPL.

Mitchell Starc is another player that is the very best at what he does. Spearing in yorkers at fierce pace and making life absolute hell for the middle and lower order batsmen is his specialty. The Kolkata pitch has been very receptive to the fast bowlers over the last couple of seasons and we think Starc will be very difficult to stop.

KKR has also chosen to keep faith Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. Both these two players have done very well at the IPL in the past. Narine, though, was called out for his action at the PSL and Russell is returning after a year out of the game because of doping.

Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik will be the two batsmen who will be expected to lead the run-scoring efforts. We, however, are very excited to see what under-19 sensation Shubman Gill can do in the big leagues. Gill has a technique that is very similar to Virat Kohli. If he can score runs even at a fifty percent of what Kohli does then he will have made it very big.

Weaknesses

KKR’s top players are very injury prone and the lack of cover in their squad makes this a very real issue. Chris Lynn missed the PSL because of yet another shoulder injury. He never seems to be able to go more than a few matches without being injured and so KKR has taken a massive gamble on him being able to last the entire season.

The Indian bowling contingent is very young and untested. Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi did very well at the under -19 world cup but the IPL is a huge jump up. Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, and Sunil Narine can be taken for plenty of runs.

KKR has put faith in a number of youngsters through their lineup. They lack the big name Indian players in their side and we think that could come back to bite them towards the end of the tournament.

Dinesh Karthik has been handed the captaincy for this edition of the IPL. He has very little experience of leading a T20 team and will have to learn very quickly on the job. Managing some of the best T20 players in the world alongside some raw Indian youngsters will demand a lot from him.

Read more

Betting odds

Kolkata Knight Riders to win IPL 2018 7.00 Bet at Bet365

Facts

Coach:Jacques Kallis
Captain:Dinesh Karthik
IPL wins:2
IPL 2017 result:4th

Mumbai Indians IPL 2018 Preview

The Mumbai Indians are one of the heavyweights of the IPL. They have the deepest pockets, always seem to end up with the strongest contingent of Indian players and invest a lot in helping its younger players develop. The Mumbai Indians have also managed to build up a fervent fan base, something that only KKR, CSK, and RCB have managed in the league.

Mumbai has stuck to tried and tested players for the most part. How their season goes could depend a lot on how their new additions gel within the team setup.

Strengths

The Mumbai Indians have a very solid batting order which will be led by Rohit Sharma. The IPL was instrumental in Rohit Sharma becoming the batsman he is now. His ability to hit the big shots and come up with massive innings when it matters most is legendary.

Rohit Sharma will have Evin Lewis to help him out at the top of the order. Traditionally, the pitch in Mumbai is the best for batting in the IPL. The ball comes on to the bat and the boundaries are really short. We think Evin Lewis could have a lot of fun in this IPL and showcase his big hitting ability to the world.

Ishan Kishan will replace Parthiv Patel as the aggressive left-handed opener/ wicketkeeper in the side. The former under-19 Indian captain comes with a solid reputation. The rest of the batting is powered by all-rounders like Kieron Pollard, the Pandya brothers, and Ben Cutting.

The fast bowling reserves of the Mumbai Indians are very solid as well. Jasprit Bumrah is regarded as the best death bowler in the world while Pat Cummins can crank up the pace to close to 150 km/h. Mustafizur Rahman may struggle to get a game but he is another bowler that has done very well in T20 cricket over the last few years.

Weaknesses

The Mumbai Indians do not have a leading spinner that they can call upon. Akila Dananjaya is in the squad but it is difficult to see him being picked as one of the four overseas regularly. Krunal Pandya is perhaps the other spin bowler that Mumbai can turn to but he has a long way to go to be able to be called a specialist in that role.

A lot depends on the form of Rohit Sharma. He has been as bankable as gold for Mumbai Indians in the past but if he goes through a poor phase then the Mumbai Indian batting could struggle quite a lot. The new opening partnership at the top of the order of Evin Lewis and Ishan Kishan is untested. Opposition teams will try and target them to push the Mumbai Indians back early.

Read more

Betting odds

Mumbai Indians to win IPL 2018 5.50 Bet at Betway

Facts

Coach:Rohit Sharma
Captain:Mahela Jayawardene
IPL wins:3
IPL 2017 result:1st

Rajasthan Royals IPL 2018 Preview

From being a team that was famous for finding value in relatively little-known players, the Rajasthan Royals have transformed into one of the biggest spenders in IPL 2018. They also find themselves at the center of a needless controversy thanks to the ball-tampering saga that Steve Smith is embroiled in. He was named as captain of the Rajasthan Royals but has since stepped down. The team will now be led by Ajinkya Rahane.

Strengths

The Rajasthan Royals have a stellar first choice eleven. Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Jofra Archer will lend a heavy English flavor to the side. Buttler and Stokes will be the key to their performance this year. Both of them are all-rounders that bring plenty to the team. Both of them will also probably end up batting just behind each other in the batting order and determine the fate of most chases.

Ajinkya Rahane is an excellent batsman but has not quite done justice to the talent he has. His captaincy debut for India was very impressive and we think he could benefit from leading this side.

The Royals will have a tough choice between Steve Smith and Darcy Short as the fourth overseas player. As one of the best batsmen in the world, we expect Steve Smith to be given the first chance at staking his place in the eleven but Short has proven himself to be a very good T20 player in a short amount of time as well.

How much the ongoing controversy affects Steve Smith’s batting is also something that remains to be seen.

Weaknesses

The Rajasthan Royals are looking a little light in their bowling department. Archer, Stokes, and Jayadev Unadkat will be the leading fast bowlers for the side but their spin department is quite bare. K Gowtham, a young Indian off-spinner, has been picked for a huge sum of money but his success in the IPL is anything but guaranteed.

Dhawal Kulkarni, Unadkat, and even Stokes have a tendency to go for plenty of runs. The flat batting wicket in Rajasthan could prove to be difficult for them to succeed on.

The Rajasthan Royals are also short of a quality Indian batsman. Rahane at the top is likely to be partnered with Rahul Tripathi who had an excellent debut season. As we have seen multiple times in the past, though, that the second season for these youngsters is much more challenging.

The Rajasthan Royals have bet big on a few players to carry them through. They have a better-balanced team than someone like KKR who followed a similar strategy but need to wary of any injuries to their key players.

The backup players in the squad are just not as good.

Read more

Betting odds

Rajasthan Royals to win IPL 2018 7.50 Bet at Bet365

Facts

Coach:Shane Warne
Captain:Ajinkya Rahane
IPL wins:1
IPL 2017 result:(suspended)

Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL 2018 Preview

RCB is led by perhaps the best limited-overs batsman in the world today, Virat Kohli. He is going into the tournament well rested and raring to go. The team also managed to pick plenty of players that are more suited to the conditions they can expect their home ground. Bangalore went from being one of the highest scoring grounds in the IPL to be one of the most difficult ones to score on last season.

Strengths

RCB has more depth in its squad than any other team this season. In fact, they have so many options available that picking the right eleven will be a challenge in itself. Batsmen like Quinton de Kock and Brendon McCullum will have to fight for the opening slot.

All-rounders like Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, and Colin de Grandhomme will have to slug it out for spots in the middle order while the fast bowling duo of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Tim Southee will find it difficult to make the eleven as well.

Since there is no question about AB de Villiers being in the team, Virat Kohli can experiment with the other three overseas spots as per the conditions on offer. That is something he likes to do with the Indian team as well so expect RCB to be changing their side constantly.

The addition of Parthiv Patel, Washington Sundar, and Umesh Yadav to the side also give RCB plenty of class in its Indian contingent. Spin is set to be a big factor in Bangalore and the side has two of India’s best exponents in its side. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar will be key to RCB’s success in IPl 2018.

Weaknesses

Quality Indian batsmen are at a premium in this league and RCB is missing out on those as well. Virat Kohli is a giant but Parthiv Patel, Sarfaraz Khan, and maybe Manan Vohra are also going to have to step up when given the chance.

Maybe playing Washington Sundar up the order will be an option that Kohli could look to.

There is no question that Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers are going to be the biggest draws in Bangalore this year. Part of the solution to winning the league will be ensuring these two players get to bat at their positions of choice. A top-heavy RCB could face similar challenges to previous years where a couple of early wickets would expose their team.

Still, this RCB side is definitely one of the better put together squads and should be a definite contender.

Read more

Betting odds

Royal Challengers Bangalore to win IPL 2018 5.50 Bet at Betway

Facts

Coach:Daniel Vettori
Captain:Virat Kohli
IPL wins:0
IPL 2017 result:8th

Sunrisers Hyderabad IPL 2018 Preview

The Sunrisers Hyderabad lost in the eliminator last year and has been one of the strongest teams in the completion for the last few years. We don’t think they did too badly in this year’s auction as well but they definitely have a few issues to deal with. Unlike the Rajasthan Royals who replaced Steve Smith as captain, David Warner has not yet been sacked as captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad. With the ball tempering controversy surrounding their skipper, coach Tom Moody will have a huge role to play inside the dressing room to keep the team on track.

Strengths

The Sunrisers Hyderabad managed to keep the core of their batting order together. David Warner and Shikhar Shawan are an excellent opening pair and have won plenty of matches for their side. Dhawan is going through a real purple patch in his game while Warner is one of the most dangerous batsmen in T20 cricket.

The two of them are easily the most dangerous opening partnership in this league.

Following these two will be Kane Williamson, Shakib Al Hasan, Manish Pandey, and Wriddhiman Saha. These players give the Sunrisers plenty of stability as well as hitting power when they need it. In fact, Shakib Al Hasan could be the player around which this whole middle order revolves.

The Sunrisers also picked Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan. It seems like only one of these players can make it into the playing eleven, although we could be wrong. Both these two all-rounders are known for their big hitting. Depending on them to finish matches, though, could be a little risky.

Rashid Khan and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar are absolute certainties in the starting eleven. Rashid Khan is the current hottest property in T20 cricket as batsmen around the world struggle to hit him for runs. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is also very good at bowling the yorkers and has been challenging for the purple cap consistently over the last few years.

Weaknesses

The Sunrisers Hyderabad have always been a top-heavy team and this year is no different. The early wicket of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan will put a lot of pressure on the following batsmen. While they have some better quality middle order batsmen than last season, they are still missing a quality Indian batsman. Manish Pandey could make us eat our words if he has an excellent season, though!

The team has plenty of backup for their fast bowlers but support for Rashid Khan in the spin department is frugal. The Sunrisers are also going to have to find a player that is able to provide them with big hits down the order.

Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hood, Carlos Braithwaite are possible options but none of them is known for their consistency in doing the job.

Read more

Betting odds

Sunrisers Hyderabad to win IPL 2018 6.00 Bet at Bet365

Facts

Coach:Tom Moody
Captain:David Warner
IPL wins:1
IPL 2017 result:3rd

Our Predictions

Every IPL we see a couple of teams fall away from the leading pack completely. On the face of things, this year's squads look more evenly matched than ever before. Each team has managed to rectify a few shortcomings and keep its strongest players with them. Apart from the Kings XI Punjab team, whom we think could find it difficult, the rest of the teams are closely matched.

4 Qualifying teams:

  • Delhi Daredevils
  • Royal Challengers Bangalore
  • Rajasthan Royals
  • Chennai Super Kings

IPL 2018 Winner Betting Tip

Royal Challengers Bangalore to win IPL 2018 5.50
Bet at Betway

Free Cricket Betting Tips

Sign up to our newsletter and receive daily FREE cricket betting tips and betting offers to your email!