A case could be made for any of the eight franchises, as they are all studded with international match-winners after another fascinating IPL auction. However, many of the teams have since been hit by injuries. Among the most notable, Rising Pune Supergiant will be without Ravi Ashwin, Royal Challengers Bangalore have lost KL Rahul and South African duo Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy have pulled out for Delhi Daredevils.
Holders Hyderabad also have concerns over Bangladeshi seamer Mustafizur Rahman, who was so instrumental in their success last year. Sunrisers also relied heavily on David Warner’s runs in 2016 and on paper they don’t look as strong as some of the other competitors this time around. Bangalore go in as favourites with the bookies and the addition of English T20 specialist Tymal Mills should add a potency to their bowling which has been sadly lacking over the years. The batting line-up looks as fearsome as ever, headlined by the powerhouse trio of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and India captain Virat Kohli, but odds of 4/1 may not entice too many punters.
For better value, the smart money is on Mumbai Indians. They are one of the few teams not to have been beset by injuries and the bowling attack looks particularly formidable, with the pace of Mitchell Johnson, intelligence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan, and wily campaigners Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga providing plenty of world-class options. The home batters should also enjoy conditions at the Wankhede Stadium, with big-hitting overseas players such as Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard complementing a top seven brimming with domestic talent, including Rohit Sharma and the exciting Pandya brothers.
- Top Tip: Mumbai Indians to win – 6/1
It is no surprise to see Virat Kohli, David Warner and AB de Villiers at the top of the betting, but more tempting odds may be found elsewhere. Mumbai Indians skipper Sharma is a definite contender at 14/1, while Australian Chris Lynn could also be one to watch if he gets a run in the Kolkata Knight Riders team and can replicate his stunning form from the most recent Big Bash, when he averaged over 150 and had an even higher strike rate. The Delhi Daredevils may be outsiders for the tournament, but they are jam-packed with dangerous young batsmen, including Karun Nair, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, teenage sensation Rishabh Pant and England’s Sam Billings.
- Top Tip: Rohit Sharma – 14/1
Australian Adam Zampa has proved particularly effective in T20 with his box of leg-spinning tricks, and on the pitches of India he could be a nightmare to face. At odds of 20/1 to be the top wicket-taker, he looks well worth a flutter. Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan has been a revelation at international level over the last year or two and could become an even bigger star if he gets the nod for Sunrisers Hyderabad, while England’s Tymal Mills, who is likely to bowl in the power play and at the death for Royal Challengers, should also pick up plenty of wickets with his blend of sheer pace and clever variations.
- Top Tip: Adam Zampa at 20/1
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.