Pace setters of the IPL 2020 so far

Virat Kohli AB de Villiers

The 2020 Indian Premier League is into its third week and the early signs suggest we’ll have a new champion this season.

While the Mumbai Indians are the reigning titleholders and have had a decent start to their defence of the trophy, it’s the Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore that are really impressing.

Delhi and Bangalore have never won the IPL. The latter, in fact, have reached but lost three finals. Perhaps this will be their year to finally get over the proverbial line.

Bangalore or bust

They’ve done well to add Australian pair Aaron Finch and Adam Zampa to a star-studded squad that already featured South African batsman AB de Villiers, captain Virat Kolhi and others. Finch is a welcome addition to the top order, while Zampa has been formidable in partnership with fellow leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

Zampa, Chahal, Finch and Bangalore as a whole are popular options among the best IPL betting markets available. The Royal Challengers, for instance, are priced at 6.0 by bet365 to win the 2020 tournament. The same firm has offered Finch at 4.50 to be the top batsman for Bangalore overall.

Delight in Delhi

Then there’s the Capitals, who are no longer just losers by another name after leaving their previous brand – the Daredevils – in the past.

They’ve had a terrific start to their 2020 campaign and we’ll see soon enough whether they manage to keep up with this form. Delhi have relied a lot on Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis. He was the batsman with the most runs during Australia’s 2019-20 Big Bash League and has continued that fine form in the IPL this season. Fans can get Stoinis at 34.0 in the player of the tournament markets.

Shreyas Iyer is a superb captain for Delhi and, with Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw doing well at the top of the order, their batting is looking really solid for the remainder of the tournament. Of course, the franchise’s bowling is being spearheaded by South African pace aces Anrich Norjte and Kagiso Rabada. Even if Delhi have lost Amit Mishra to a finger injury for the rest of this tournament, the excellent performances from Nortje and Rabada are more than making up for the absence of Mishra.

England stars in the IPL

South Africans and Australians are not the only players from abroad participating in the IPL 2020. Bangalore have Sri Lankan Isuru Udana. The Sunrisers Hyderabad have New Zealand Kane Williamson. In terms of Englishmen in the IPL, the Rajasthan Royals have a superstar foursome from the United Kingdom in all-rounder Ben Stokes, wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and fast bowlers Tom Curran and Jofra Archer.

Stokes joined the Royals squad belatedly, but will be a kingpin for them for the rest of the tournament. Buttler is still finding his groove at the top of the order, where he’s batting alongside Australian counterpart Steven Smith in an intriguing dynamic between the Ashes rivals.

Archer’s pace on the pitches on offer in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah has been good. These decks don’t offer much assistance to the bowlers, but he is likely to remain key to the Royals’ pursuit of a second IPL title to the one they won in 2008. And then there’s Curran, who is using his characteristic slower ball to near perfection on occasion. He delivers it from the back of the hand, disguising it well and succeeding with it quite nicely.

Both Curran and Archer offer value with the willow down the Rajasthan order, too. This is a near necessity for teams that don’t get as much out of their specialist batsmen as they’d like. Archer’s six tally for the IPL 2020 is already in the double figures, while Curran recently struck a half-ton against the Kolkata Knight Riders.