Global stars, unlikely friendships & new surroundings – what you need to know as the IPL returns

India captain Virat Kohli (left) will lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore while Australias Steve Smith is skipper for the Rajasthan RoyalsThe worlds biggest Twenty20 cricket competition starts on Saturday as the Indian Premier League returns for its 13th edition.

While the carnival Bollywood atmosphere we have become accustomed to with the IPL might be tough to replicate without the raucous Indian fans present, there is still plenty to anticipate.
The format
The eight-week competition begins with a repeat of in 2015s last, with holders Mumbai Indians hosting Chennai Super Kings.
There are eight franchises representing different cities in India, with matches occurring in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
Each squad has a maximum of eight abroad (non-Indian) players however no greater than four can be picked in a beginning XI.
The leading 4 sides will then enter the play-offs, with the final taking place on 10 November.
Mumbai Indians begin as favourites
The Mumbai Indians were welcomed to a heros welcome in an open-top bus parade in their house city after winning their fourth IPL trophy in 2019The reigning champs and the most embellished IPL group of all-time with 4 prizes, Mumbai Indians are the bookmakers favourites to win once again this year.
The signing of Australias Nathan Coulter-Nile and Chris Lynn adds more depth to a squad that consists of the T20 experience of West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard and India batsman Rohit Sharma.
Mumbai also have a history of support and discovering homegrown young skill, such as brothers Hardik and Krunyal Pandya, who have gone on to end up being world-class T20 operators.
With the slower pitches in the UAE and no house benefit, it is not an offered they will lift the prize this time.
Dhonis last hurrah? And KKR break the bank
Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni (right) presents with Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma at the 2019 IPL last. Mumbai Indians won by one runChennai Super Kings might be a force to be reckoned with, having won the competition three times and been runners-up on five occasions.
They will be led by captain MS Dhoni, who has actually been an ever-present in the side given that the very first edition of the IPL.
Dhoni retired from global cricket earlier this year; could this be his last IPL look?
England T20 and ODI captain Eoin Morgan has signed up with IPL outfit Kolkata Knight Riders for a second time, having actually previously played for them between 2011 and 2013Kolkata Knight Riders will also be expecting a great run this year.
KKR have actually obtained the services of Eoin Morgan, who led England to World Cup glory last summer season, and Australia bowler Pat Cummins, who at ₤ 1.7 m is the most pricey finalizing in IPL history.
In big-hitting West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell, they have the IPL player of the tournament from 2019.
Can Kohli and AB end RCBs curse?
India captain Kohli is the all-time leading run-scorer in the IPL, having accumulated 5,412 runs in 177 matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore, at approximately 37.84. A worldwide cricketing super star and the highest run-scorer in IPL history, Virat Kohli will have all eyes on him as he faces the competitors with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Kohli will captain an RCB team boasting a star-studded batting line-up led by South Africas AB de Villiers and Australias white-ball captain Aaron Finch.
However regardless of their batting prowess, RCB are still looking for their very first IPL trophy win. Will this be their year?
Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa will wanting to assist RCB reverse their fortunes, while the addition of his compatriot Kane Richardson will include depth to the joint attack.
The not likely relationships
David Warner (left) was the IPLs top scorer in 2019; scoring 692 perform at approximately 69, while Jonny Bairstow scored 445 perform at an average of 55.62 in his launching seasonAustralias David Warner and Englands Jonny Bairstow will when again reunite for Sunrisers Hyderabad, showing the IPL can turn international competitions into unlikely friendships.
They were the most devastating opening set in 2015s competition, placing on 791 runs together including 4 century stands.
With New Zealands Kane Williamson can be found in at number three, the Sunrisers have a leading order which can take the video game away from any opposition.
England quick bowler Jofra Archer and Australias Steve Smith participated in a strong battle in 2015s Ashes, however will once again join forces for Rajasthan Royals.
The Royals are again putting their faith in English talent despite completing second from bottom in 2019.
World Cup heroes Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes have retained their places in the squad, although there are doubts over Stokes schedule.
The all-rounder missed Englands 3rd and second Tests against Pakistan as a result of family factors and was likewise not part of their T20I and ODI teams against Australia.
A huge English presence
Englands Tom Curran is likewise in the Royals squad, while sibling Sam will turn out for CSK, having actually put in some remarkable efficiencies whilst betting Kings XI Punjab last year, consisting of a hat-trick versus Delhi Capitals.
Moeen Ali will also be playing his 3rd consecutive season for RCB and Chris Jordan – who is England second all-time leading T20 wicket-taker – will connect with Kings XI Punjab.
Batsman Tom Banton, who showcased his batting abilities in 2015s Australian T20 Big Bash where he averaged over 30, will sign up with Morgan at KKR.

The tournament, which is occurring 6 months behind originally planned because of the Covid-19 pandemic, is now being played in the United Arab Emirates, with groups following rigorous quarantine guidelines on arrival into the nation.