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Advantage Mumbai Indians After IPL Switches to UAE

IPL 14 was left in an intriguing position with around half of the group matches already completed but the reorganization may just play into the hands of pre-tournament favourites the Mumbai Indians.

Advantage Mumbai Indians After IPL Switches to UAE
Image: (IPL 2013 Match 37 MI v RCB)
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After some delay, the rescheduled dates for the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League have now been confirmed. With the competition having been unavoidably delayed, the 14th IPL will now resume in mid-September and conclude in October, just ahead of the T20 World Cup.

The hosts have also been established after there had been talk that the remainder of the tournament would be held in England. Instead, players will return to the familiar surroundings of the UAE which previously hosted the event a year ago.

IPL 14 was left in an intriguing position with around half of the group matches already completed but the reorganization may just play into the hands of pre-tournament favourites the Mumbai Indians.

Unavoidable Absentees

One factor that could see Mumbai Indians claim another IPL title concerns the availability of key players. Other franchises could be affected by the loss of English and New Zealand overseas picks who are expected to be retained for international commitments.

That issue has had little impact on the betting markets as yet with Indian sportsbooks showing a tight set of odds. Mumbai were the early favourites but they’ve since been joined at the head of those markets by Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings who were at the top of the table when the IPL was suspended.

As September approaches, those markets are likely to fluctuate and the odds, as provided by sbo.net, will be updated. Mumbai may shorten as the squads are confirmed for the second half of the 2021 tournament. News relating to those changes can also be found on the site while sbo.net have a number of Indian bookmakers available, many of whom can provide some generous sign up offers.

It’s a strong site for anyone following the Indian Premier League but why, exactly, are the odds coming down in favour of Mumbai?

Core Squad Retained

Players from England and New Zealand are those most likely to miss out when the IPL returns. That’s no great problem for Mumbai Indians whose regular overseas picks include the West Indian T20 skipper Kieron Pollard plus South Africa’s regular international wicket keeper Quinton De Kock.

The defending champions will undoubtedly miss the swing bowling of Trent Boult while fellow Kiwis James Neesham and Adam Milne will also be unable to return. However, Mumbai’s overseas roster also currently includes Nathan Coulter-Nile and Chris Lynn from Australia plus South African bowling all-rounder Marco Jansen.

While it’s not been confirmed, all Indian franchises will presumably be able to call up replacements for those players who can’t come back to the squad. Mumbai will need to make changes but their quest is easier than most.

Issues Elsewhere

Early IPL 2014 pacesetters Chennai Super Kings will be hit by the loss of English all rounders Moeen Ali and Sam Curran. Both men had enjoyed key roles with bat and ball that had taken CSK to the top of the table at the halfway stage. New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner is also expected to miss out when the competition returns.

Just ahead of Chennai at the top of the IPL table as the season was interrupted were Delhi Capitals. The 2020 IPL finalists are set to lose three English players although it’s important to note that Tom Curran, Sam Billings and Chris Woakes were very much on the fringes of the Delhi squad.

By far the biggest losers are the Rajasthan Royals who have recently put English internationals at the heart of their overseas roster. The influential Jos Buttler will be missing and, while Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were injured, both men may have returned to the squad had they regained full fitness.

Other teams are also expected to struggle following the rescheduling of this year’s tournament and the replacement picks are going to be crucial. Meanwhile, domestic players will also need to step up and this is another area where Mumbai should be effective. With skipper Rohit Sharma, paceman Jasprit Bumrah and the all-round capabilities of the Pandya brothers in their squad, the defending champions have another edge.

There will be plenty of cricket played between now and the resumption of the IPL but the international calendar may just play its part in another successful campaign for the Mumbai Indians.

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