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The Indian Premier League celebrates its 10th birthday this year. Cricket’s annual Subcontinental slogfest kicks off on Wednesday when the Sunrisers Hyderabad entertain the Royal Challengers Bangalore in an eagerly-anticipated repeat of last year’s final.
Twelve months ago it was Hyderabad who claimed their maiden IPL title and in the process condemned the Challengers to a third heartbreaking defeat in the final. At 39/50, the Sunrisers are the favourites to start the defence of their crown this week. Bangalore are rated 21/20 to hit the ground running and get their revenge.
The six machine that is Chris Gayle top scored in the final in 2016, smacking a quick-fire 76 from just 38 balls at the top of the Challengers innings. The muscular West Indian is 11/4 to repeat the trick for the visitors this week. Team-mate Virat Kohli, the all-time top runs scorer in IPL history, is 5/2 to get the most runs for the Bangalore, while Aussie veteran Shane Watson and South Africa’s AB de Villiers are both 3/1 to top score.
The Sunrisers’s batting line-up isn’t quite as explosive, but David Warner is always a force to be reckoned with. The opener walloped 69 to lay the platform for victory for Hyderabad last year and is 9/4 to lead the way for his team again. Shikhar Dhawan is rated 3/1, while stylish Kiwi Kane Williamson is a 4/1 bet to finish the match as the Sunrisers’ top runs getter.
English interest in the IPL opener can be found in the shape of Twenty20 specialist Tymal Mills: the quick bowler who made his T20I debut for England against Sri Lanka last summer. It’s his first season in the IPL but the 24-year-old is still joint favourite at 3/1, along with new team-mate Yuzvendra Chahal, to top the wicket taking charts for Bangalore.
Trinidadian leg-spinner Samuel Badree is a 4/1 shot to be the Sunrisers’ best bowler, while young New Zealand seamer Adam Milne is also rated 4/1.
The Hyderabad attack also features an Englishman in Chris Jordan. The Sussex quick played for the Bangalore last season, taking three wickets in the final, and is 4/1 to be his new employer’s top bowler against his former team-mates. Bangladeshi Mustafizur Rahman is the 3/1 favourite to shine, while the trio of Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra are all 13/4 to do the most damage with the ball.
The overall betting for the 2017 edition of the IPL makes for interesting reading, with Bangalore and not Hyderabad the favourites for the title. The Challengers are still looking for their first trophy after losing in the finals of 2009, 2011 and last year, but are a 15/4 bet to finally get the monkey off their back this year.
The second favourites are the Mumbai Indians, the two-time champions, at 11/2. The third favourites are the Rising Pune Supergiants who will be looking for big things from Ben Stokes after paying £1.7million for the all-rounder’s services, making him the most expensive foreign player in IPL history. Stokes’ team are rated 11/2 to win the competition for the first time.
The two rank outsiders are Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab at 9/1 to lift the trophy. Kings XI won just four of their 14 matches last season to finish rock bottom of the table and will be hoping England one-day captain Eoin Morgan, signed for £240,000, can sprinkle a little bit of magic on the team this year.