The Indian Premier League is almost upon us, with the best talent in the Twenty20 game set to descend on India. With so much talent on show and so many moving parts due to the IPL auction and players being unavailable, many teams look unrecognisable from the season before.
This huge change in the personnel involved with each team means that just because a side fared well last season does not necessarily mean they will excel this time.
Which teams are the favourites to win the competition, and which are the outsiders to lift the trophy in 2023?
The Favourites – Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals
It is no surprise to see the Mumbai Indians as one of the favourites with Indian bookmakers to win the competition. MI have won a record five titles, with their last coming in 2021. Their excellent return has seen the side near to the top of the table on a number of occasions, although their campaign in 2022 did see them finish rock bottom of the table with four wins from 14 matches.
Rohit Sharma will lead the MI and he is ably backed up by the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer, Tristan Stubbs and more. MI look to have built a very strong side this season.
Delhi Capitals are the joint favourites this year, although they have only notched one runners-up spot across their 14 seasons. Their top finish of second came in 2020 as they were downed by MI. Captain and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant is joined by veteran David Warner, with Prithvi Shaw, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Marsh and Rilee Rossouw in a team that looks well balanced. Can DC finally take the big step and lift the IPL title?
The Contenders – Rajasthan Royals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore
Rajasthan Royals currently have one asset that any side in world cricket would want, and that is Jos Buttler. The English wicket-keeper-batsman is one of the premier players in world cricket and was the player of the tournament in 2022 as RR made it all the way to the final. He will once again link up with captain Sanju Samson, with Shimron Hetmyer, Trent Boult, Ravi Ashwin, Jason Holder, Adam Zampa and Joe Root all helping to make up what is a squad with real power.
Royal Challengers Bangalore are the other slight outsider that will interest people this year. In a case of always the bridesmaid and never the bride, RCB have finished in second three times after qualifying for the playoffs in nine of their 14 seasons. Virat Kohli will be desperate to finally bring home the trophy after years of missing out, and he can look to the hugely experienced Faf de Plessis, who is playing some superb cricket right now, for help. Alongside him, Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell, Finn Allen, Dinesh Karthik and David Willey all provide RCB with a solid base to build from.
The Dark Horses – Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad
Despite being the second most decorated team in the history of the IPL, the Chennai Super Kings come into the competition as one of the dark horses. A triumph in 2021 to go with their other three titles ultimately led them onto a disappointing campaign in 2022, as they finished ninth in the table with four wins from 14. This year, CSK have gone all out to try to return the glory days, with Ben Stokes now a CSK player for the eyewatering fee of 16.25 Crores. Captain Ravi Jadeja will look to continue his fine form in India’s premier T20 competition, with Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner and Dwaine Pretorious all bringing some spice. Could this be a tournament that veteran MS Dhoni shines?
Finally, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are seen as the major underdogs to win the IPL. After dispensing of the services of veterans of the team in Kane Williamson and David Warner, SRH have a new look. England bowler Adil Rashid provides the expertise of a double World Cup winning spinner, while Aiden Markram, Glenn Phillips, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen, Harry Brook Mayank Agarwal will likely prove to be big talents in the competition.
With so many superb players set to take to the field for the tournament, the winning side really is anyone’s guess. While there are favourites and outsiders right now, anything could happen in the most unpredictable and exciting T20 club competition in the world.