Three-time winners who have only ever been kept out of the end-of-season knockouts by suspension. That’ll be the Chennai Super Kings then.
Coach: Stephen Fleming
Captain: MS Dhoni
Previous Best: Winners (2010, 2011, 2018)
Why They’ll Win It
Because they always do. Or at least go close. Unless they’re banned. Which they aren’t any more.
Returned from their two-year suspension to win a third title under MS Dhoni’s leadership last season and have reached the knockouts in all nine of the tournaments they’ve contested.
Dhoni’s leadership credentials are beyond reproach and their batting depth is fearsome. Shane Watson, matchwinner in last year’s final, comes into the tournament on the back of a stellar PSL campaign while Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, all-time IPL leading scorer Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu are all classy players with bags of experience.
English duo Sam Billings and David Willey are in the squad after thoroughly enjoying themselves in the recent T20s against West Indies, and Imran Tahir is firmly in the leading pack of wristspinners merrily making T20 cricket their own personal playground.
Dwayne Bravo is still going strong and remains a key part of so many good T20 sides that it can’t be a coincidence. Sure, he couldn’t help Middlesex, but some causes are lost before you begin.
Why They Won’t
The bowling attack is undeniably weaker than the batting line-up, and the loss of Lungi Ngidi to injury is a massive blow – he was so crucial to last season’s surprise success and the seam-bowling stocks look worryingly low.
*You missed me or Watto?* 💛🦁 pic.twitter.com/O2agReNQ2j
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 19, 2019
Star Man – MS Dhoni
Not the player he was, but still an icy-veined master of fast-handed stumpings and nerveless run-chases. His calm authority spreads throughout his team and he remains an intimidating opponent as both sportsman and human.
Full squad: Faf du Plessis (SA), Shane Watson (Aus), Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Sam Billings (Eng, wk), Dhruv Shorey, Rutaraj Gaikwad, MS Dhoni (capt, wk), N Jagadeesan (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo (WI), David Willey (Eng), Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir (SA), Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner (NZ), Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Mohit Sharma.
Saturday March 23
2000 IST/1430 GMT: Royal Challengers Bangalore, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Tuesday March 26
2000 IST/1430 GMT: Delhi Capitals, Feroz Shah Kotla Delhi
Sunday March 31
2000 IST/1530 BST: Rajasthan Royals, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Wednesday April 3
2000 IST/1530 BST: Mumbai Indians, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Saturday April 6
1600 IST/1130 BST: Kings XI Punjab, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Tuesday April 9
2000 IST/1530 BST: Kolkata Knight Riders, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Thursday April 11
2000 IST/1530 BST: Rajasthan Royals, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Sunday April 14
1600 IST/1130 GMT: Kolkata Knight Riders, Eden Gardens Kolkata
Wednesday April 17
2000 IST/1530 BST: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium Hyderabad
Sunday April 21
2000 IST/1530 BST: Royal Challengers Bangalore, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Tuesday April 23
2000 IST/1530 BST: Sunrisers Hyderabad, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Friday April 26
2000 IST/1530 BST: Mumbai Indians, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Wednesday May 1
2000 IST/1530 BST: Delhi Capitals, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Sunday May 5
1600 IST/1130 BST: Kings XI Punjab, IS Bindra Stadium Mohali
The England and Yorkshire fast bowler saw his career cut slightly short by injury problems.
Nagging uncertainty over Stokes’ recent quad injury means England will not know how to balance their side until the eleventh hour.
Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie both hit centuries in the shock victory.
Stuart Broad took his 500th Test wicket last month.
Derbyshire chased down 365 for victory.
David Willey added a rapid half-century at the end of the innings.
The all-rounder is recovering from a quad injury which has impacted his bowling workload.
It is not yet known how much of a role the all-rounder can be expected to play with the ball.