Three-time winners who alternate good seasons with meh ones and are thus guaranteed to win the lot this year. That’ll be the Mumbai Indians then.
Coach: Mahela Jayawardene
Captain: Rohit Sharma
Previous Best: Winners (2013, 2015, 2017)
Why They’ll Win It
Plenty of pedigree having won three of the last six, while fans of pretty patterns will have already noted that Mumbai have been alternating mediocre campaigns with title wins since 2012 and if that trend continues it’s victory number four for the Indians in 2019.
That’s obviously bollocks, but they would certainly expect to improve on last year’s underwhelming fifth-placed finish.
The batting and fast bowling stocks are plentiful in a much-changed squad. Ten players have been released and six acquired in the auction, and the result is a powerful and primarily Indian batting line-up that gives the Indians plenty of flexibility in a star-studded pace attack.
They’ve got strong options at the top of the order – especially if captain Rohit Sharma can be dissuaded from his baffling preference for batting in the middle-order – with Evin Lewis and new boy Quinton de Kock, while the late hitting looks in safe hands with the Pandya brothers, Ben Cutting, and Kieron Pollard.
Jasprit Bumrah, Adam Milne, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan and Jason Behrendorff represents an embarrassment of fast-bowling riches.
Why They Won’t
The spin department looks a bit thin. With people slowly coming round to the fact that the best bowling sides generally win T20 tournaments and the best bowling sides generally have top-drawer wrist-spin options then Mumbai have a problem.
Star Man – Hardik and Krunal Pandya
They’ve got the same surname so it’s clearly fine to cheat and have them both. Their importance is so huge, though. Top-class India players are for obvious reasons the most valuable players in the IPL. Top-class India players who can influence games in all three disciplines are the most valuable among those most valuable players. Hardik and Krunal Pandya would sit first and second on that list right now.
They give the Indians so much middle-order and bowling strength with their own contributions while also giving their side almost unique flexibility with their overseas spots.
The team is all game for IPL 2019, are you? 👊
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) March 21, 2019
Full squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Evin Lewis (WI), Quinton de Kock (SA, wk), Anmol Singh, Suryakumar Yadav, Siddhesh Lad, Ishan Kishan, Aditya Tare, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard (WI), Ben Cutting (Aus), Yuvraj Singh, Pankaj Jaiswal, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Jayant Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Adam Milne (NZ), Mitchell McClenaghan (NZ), Jason Behrendorff (Aus), Lasith Malinga (SL), Barinder Sran, Rasi Salam
Sunday March 24
2000 IST/1430 GMT: Delhi Capitals, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Thursday March 28
2000 IST/1430 GMT: Royal Challengers Bangalore, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Saturday March 30
1600 IST/1030 GMT: Kings XI Punjab, IS Bindra Stadium Mohali
Wednesday April 3
2000 IST/1530 BST: Chennai Super Kings, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Saturday April 6
2000 IST/1530 BST: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium Hyderabad
Wednesday April 10
2000 IST/1530 BST: Kings XI Punjab, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Saturday April 13
1600 IST/1130 BST: Rajasthan Royals, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Monday April 15
2000 IST/1530 BST: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Thursday April 18
2000 IST/1530 BST: Delhi Capitals, Feroz Shah Kotla Delhi
Saturday April 20
1600 IST/1130 BST: Rajasthan Royals, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Friday April 26
2000 IST/1530 BST: Chennai Super Kings, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Sunday April 28
2000 IST/1530 GMT: Kolkata Knight Riders, Eden Gardens Kolkata
Thursday May 2
2000 IST/1530 BST: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Sunday May 5
2000 IST/1530 BST: Kolkata Knight Riders, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Steve Smith couldn’t get a hundred today. The Badger could.
England get Steve Smith out for just 80. Great success.
England are utterly infuriating, they really are.
Joe Root > Don Bradman. That’s just maths.
Joe Denly with more runs in a day than Warner in the whole series there.
Changes for both teams ahead of The Oval.
England’s Test-match batting is broken. Time to get back to basics.
The WTC scoring system is stupid, but the fix is easy. Get it done.
The Badger lets off steam.