Perhaps you don’t have allegiances to any Indian Premier League team in particular because there isn’t one based in your town or city. The IPL will grow to more teams in the future – and perhaps this will include more regions. But, for now, it’s worth knowing some elements to consider when choosing an IPL team to support.
Have they won the title before?
It’s worth backing a former or current champion. The Mumbai Indians, for instance, are the current IPL champs and the most successful franchise in the history of the tournament. They have five titles. The Chennai Super Kings have won the competition three times. The Kolkata Knight Riders have taken it twice. The Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad have won the tournament once each.
Are they still chasing a maiden title?
For those who love a fairytale of a franchise winning the IPL for the first time despite historical difficulties, the Punjab Kings, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore are worth considering. Bangalore have reached a few finals, but lost them. Delhi reached the 2020 final, but lost it to Mumbai. The Punjab Kings are also without a title. They all feature in the IPL odds on the best betting sites in India. 1xBet, 22Bet and bet365, for example, have Punjab, Delhi and Bangalore priced at 23.0, 4.5 and 4.0 respectively to win a first IPL title.
Do their stars play entertaining cricket?
There are several especially entertaining cricketers in the IPL. Gone are the days when only the likes of Chris Gayle, Lasith Malinga and a few others were thrilling fans. Nowadays, there are playmakers and talismanic batsmen and bowlers dotted throughout all the squads. Glenn Maxwell offers really good value with the bat and is great on the eye when he is at the crease. He has left Punjab and is now with Bangalore. RCB also have AB de Villiers, whose stroke play and shot selection doesn’t have many genuine rivals. On a bowling front, watching Pat Cummins strut his stuff for Kolkata or Sam Curran do his thing for Chennai brings appreciation time and time again.
Does the team have depth?
It’s all well and good a team having a strong first-choice XI, but it’s important that their bench strength is able to step up if necessary. Mumbai have been so strong that they have been able to get by without fielding Chris Lynn. Chennai have been solid enough to go without Imran Tahir for extended periods. Only four international players are allowed per XI, so it’s equally important that the other seven local players are as good – if not better – than the men from abroad.
Can the side win at home and away?
While playing the IPL in the United Arab Emirates has effectively rendered all home and away matches neutral, the IPL is lined with a rich history of teams that have been strong at their own grounds and those of others. The Super Kings have made Chepauk a fortress. Mumbai have an excellent record at the Wankhede Stadium. But dig a bit deeper and you’ll notice these star sides haven’t fared as well as they would have liked to at Eden Gardens, the Feroz Shah Kotla and other away venues.
What are their coaches like?
There are some masterful tacticians in the tournament, such as Delhi’s Ricky Ponting. In the past, coaching greats such as Gary Kirsten and others have come and gone. Stephen Fleming is another great IPL coach, who has had a long association with Chennai. Knowing the credentials and record of a team’s head and/or assistant coach can go a long way in helping one choose an IPL side to support.