IPL 2020: Delhi Capitals begin their campaign against Kings XI Punjab in Dubai.© BCCI/IPL
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 action opens up on a new ground on Sunday, with Dubai hosting its first game, between Delhi Capitals (DC) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). After what has been quite an agonising wait for all the franchises and players, not least the fear of COVID-19 putting a spanner in the works, IPL 2020 is finally off the ground. But each match will be a challenge for those playing, since it will introduce them to something that largely unheard of in Indian cricket – empty stands. The IPL is not used to silence when matches are on, and that could well be the biggest challenge on Day One for all the franchises.
Playing the first game in relatively alien conditions and completely different environs pretty much puts paid to the ‘favourites’ tag. Little is known about the track at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. There’s no telling how the pitch and ground will behave, so naturally, nor is it possible to forecast which specialists will be more effective.
So, it will boil down to which of the sides adapts better to the situation.
There is little to pick from among Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab. The Punjab team has Chris Gayle in their line-up, but no one knows which Gayle will turn up for the party. New skipper KL Rahul will definitely make a difference for the team in the tournament, and he will need to begin early.
Delhi Capitals, if one were to hazard a guess, could be marginally ahead in terms of the number of batsmen who can come good, with captain Shreyas Iyer with the experienced Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and the much-favoured Rishabh Pant being in the line-up, not to mention Prithvi Shaw.
The DC bowling definitely looks better with Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane and Amit Mishra in the fray.
Much of how all of these players shape up will depend on what surprises the pitch has in store. As of now, one can only hope for a good show and a close match.
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