They’ve got a squad with loads of England players in it. In unrelated news they are probably going to do quite badly. That’ll be the Rajasthan Royals, then.
Coach: Paddy Upton
Captain: Ajinkya Rahane
Previous Best: Winners (2008)
Why They’ll Win It:
They won’t. They’ve added precious little depth to a squad carried almost single-handed to the playoffs by Jos Buttler’s antics at the top of the order. Buttler will do his bit once more, but it’s probably unrealistic to expect him to average 107 again.
Let’s find some reasons to be cheerful. Ben Stokes was the MVP in 2017. They’ve got Jofra Archer as well and thus potentially three members of a team that will start the World Cup as favourites. We’re big fans of Oshane Thomas as well.
Why They Won’t:
The weakest crop of domestic players in the tournament. Ajinkya Rahane is a class act but T20 is not his strongest suit. After that you’re pretty much straight into decent but distinctly second-tier names like Sanju Samson and Jaydev Unadkat.
As well as being hugely reliant on their overseas players, they also face the prospect of losing several of them before the end of the tournament for World Cup duty.
Unpredictable things happen in the IPL, and there are genuine match-winners among the overseas ranks, but before a ball is bowled the IPL’s inaugural winners look the likeliest to claim the wooden spoon this time around.
Star Man – Jos Buttler:
A revelation at the top of the order 12 months ago, his form so good that it got him back into England’s Test team where he is now firmly established.
The Royals will need him to replicate that form from a year ago for as long as he’s around if they are to have any real chance of making a dent on the tournament.
Here it is! It's new, it's vibrant and it's Royal Pink! 😍
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) March 22, 2019
Full squad: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith (Aus), Aryaman Birla, Manan Vohra, Jos Buttler (Eng, wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Prashant Chopra, Ben Stokes (Eng), Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer (Eng), K Gowtham, Mahipal Lomror, Riyan Parag, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone (Eng), Ashton Turner (Aus), Shubham Ranjane, Shreyas Gopal, Ish Sodhi (NZ), Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas (WI).
Monday March 25
2000 IST/1430 GMT: Kings XI Punjab, Sawai Mansingh Stadium Jaipur
Friday March 29
2000 IST/1430 GMT: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium Hyderabad
Sunday March 31
2000 IST/1530 BST: Chennai Super Kings, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Tuesday April 2
2000 IST/1530 BST: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Sunday April 7
2000 IST/1530 BST: Kolkata Knight Riders, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Thursday April 11
2000 IST/1530 BST: Chennai Super Kings, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Saturday April 13
1600 IST/1130 BST: Mumbai Indians, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Tuesday April 16
2000 IST/1530 BST: Kings XI Punjab, IS Bindra Stadium Mohali
Saturday April 20
1600 IST/1130 BST: Mumbai Indians, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Monday April 22
2000 IST/1530 BST: Delhi Capitals, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Thursday April 25
2000 IST/1530 GMT: Kolkata Knight Riders, Eden Gardens Kolkata
Saturday April 27
2000 IST/1530 BST: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Tuesday April 30
2000 IST/1530 BST: Royal Challengers Bangalore, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Saturday May 4
1600 IST/1130 BST: Delhi Capitals, Feroz Shah Kotla Delhi
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It was India’s first loss in 11 Test matches.
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Southee and Boult took 14 wickets in Wellington.
New Zealand getting into a decent position in Wellington.