The eleventh season of the Indian Premier League - India's most popular domestic twenty20 cricket tournament - is scheduled to run from April 7 till May 27, 2018. Former IPL champions Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings who are set to return after having served a two-year suspension will replace Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant.
During the league stage, each of the eight teams will play every other team twice (double round-robin), once at its own home ground and once at that of its opponent. The top four teams at the conclusion of the league round will qualify for the playoffs consisting of two qualifiers, one eliminator and the final.
The top two teams will clash in qualifier 1 where the winner gets a direct entry to the final while the loser gets one more shot at making the finals day. The eliminator will be played between the third and the fourth ranked teams. The loser of this match will get knocked out while the winner will still have to play the loser of qualifier 1 in qualifier 2. The team that wins this match will fight for the IPL 11 trophy with the winner of qualifier 1 in the final.
Read on for team previews, betting tips, betting odds and tournament predictions for the Indian Premier League 2018...
David Warner, who had earlier stepped down as captain of the team, was banned from playing in this year's IPL due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal during Australia's test series in South Africa. The team had signed England explosive batsman Alex Hales as his replacement with New Zealand captain Kane Williamson leading the team this season. Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan was retained by the Sunrisers who have a total of 25 players on their roster including eight overseas players. Top-order batsman Manish Pandey and Afghanistan's spin star Rashid Khan were amongst the top buys of the IPL 2018 player auction. Despite the absence of Warner, SRH still have a strong squad featuring some serious game-changers and they stand a good chance of going a long way in the tournament, given their successful campaigns in the previous two seasons. Meanwhile, Australian fast bowler Billy Stanlake picked up a finger injury during the Sunrisers' match against the Chennai Super Kings and has been ruled of the remainder of the tournament. The team has not announced a replacement yet.
They are leading the league standings after having won nine out of twelve matches. Their nine-wicket win against the Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla meant that they were the first among all the teams to qualify for the playoffs. With 18 points in the bag, SRH will still make it past the league stage even if they lose their remaining games.
Kane Williamson (c), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan, Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Mohammad Nabi, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Tanmay Agarwal, Shreevats Goswami, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Alex Hales
Sunrisers Hyderabad have one of the most well-rounded squads in this year's IPL and have the players for all conditions and all positions. Even after losing David Warner, the team boasts plenty of batting firepower in Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson at the top. With Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan in the side, the team is likely to deliver at least twelve good overs with the ball.
SRH do not have quality finishers down the batting order and this could be a cause of concern for them. Manish Pandey will often be required to bat deep into the innings since they cannot be dependent on Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan everytime to finish off games for them.
RCB retained their skipper in Virat Kohli along with Sarfaraz Khan and South African batting maestro AB de Villiers. Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme and Moeen Ali were all drafted in as part of the team's overseas contingent. This time, they have offloaded Chris Gayle from their squad and have given preference to players who are known for their consistency. With so many options to choose from, their main challenge this season will be to find the right balance for their playing eleven.
They are seventh on the table after losing seven out of twelve matches. With just ten points in all and 2 more games to go, RCB's playoffs chances look bleak. Not only do they have to win all their remaining two games while maintaining a strong net run-rate, they also need favorable results from matches between the teams ahead of them on the points table.
Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Quinton de Kock, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manan Vohra, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Mandeep Singh, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Parthiv Patel, Anirudha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson
RCB probably have the most explosive top order batting in the 2018 Indian Premier League with Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers constituting the top four. So posting and chasing big scores should not be too much of a problem for them. In the spin department, Yuzvendra Chahal has a fine partner in Washington Sundar who got the Man of the Series award for his good performance in the recent Nidahas series in Sri Lanka.
There are no apparent weaknesses for RCB as such. However, the team would have liked to have a genuine finisher down the batting order. So in the absence of one, the responsibility will fall on the shoulders of young Sarfraz Khan to ensure a good finish for his team.
The Knight Riders appointed Dinesh Karthik as their new captain with their 19-man squad consisting of seven overseas players. West Indian all-rounders Sunil Narine and Andre Russell were the ones to be retained by the franchise. Australian players Chris Lynn and Mitchell Starc were their top purchases at the auction. Unfortunately for the franchise, the latter has been ruled out of the IPL 2018 with a tibial bone stress and the paceman has been replaced by England fast bowler Tom Curran. Kamlesh Nagarkoti is the latest to join the injury list. The fast bowler has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with a foot injury and has been replaced by Prasidh Krishna. So their bench strength looks a tad weak at the moment and a few of their foreign recruits like Lynn and Johnson are also prone to injury. KKR do have a formidable bowling attack but since they are already very thin on resources, a couple more injuries could really mess up their season.
They are fourth on the IPL 2018 leaderboard with 12 points after having won six and lost as many out of 12 league matches. KKR now need to ensure a win in both their remaining fixtures besides maintaining a healthy net run-rate to stretch the gap between them and the fifth placed Rajasthan Royals. A big win over the Kings XI Punjab in their last game would have taken them to third but that was not to be.
Dinesh Karthik (c), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna
In Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla, Kolkata Knight Riders have arguably the best spin attack in the competition. Plus, they have retained most of the players like Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and Robin Uthappa who have done a good job for them in the past seasons.
KKR have the smallest squad of all the teams in the Indian Premier League 2018. Mitchell Starc is already out with injury and they simply cannot afford to lose any more players. Another weak point would be the brittleness in the team's middle order batting that seems to rely heavily on skipper Dinesh Karthik.
They retained skipper Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah for this season but lost Australian paceman Pat Cummins for the entire tournament due to a back injury. Adam Milne, the fast bowler from New Zealand, was announced as replacement for Cummins. The Indians reached their maximum quota of eight overseas signings and completed their squad with 25 players. Though they do have good all-round options in the likes of Pandya, Pollard and Duminy, a not-so strong batting and lack of specialist spinners in the side could dampen their progress in this year's IPL.
Their chances of breaking into the top four this IPL took a big blow after their home defeat against the Rajasthan Royals. They are sixth in the league standings with 10 points from 12 games and they now need to win both their remaining encounters while hoping for other results to go their way. MI could still sneak through if they win their next two matches and one of Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders or Kings XI Punjab lose two of their remaining matches.
Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan
Mumbai Indians are blessed with many all-rounders like Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and JP Duminy who will provide stability in both batting and bowling departments. They also possess a strong pace attack in Mustafizur Rahman, Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan.
The lack of genuine spinners in the bowling group is the biggest downside of this Mumbai Indians side. Also except Rohit Sharma and Evin Lewis, there aren't too many powerful strikers of the cricket ball at the top of the batting order.
Gautam Gambhir was initially named captian of the side but he has stepped down from captaincy following a string of defeats. The Daredevils had retained batsmen Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer along with South African all-rounder Chris Morris from the previous season. However, Morris sustained a back injury mid-way through the tournament and has been replaced by South African team-mate Junior Dala. The team is already missing the services of fast bowler Kagiso Rabada who too had been ruled out of the IPL 2018 with a back injury. England paceman Liam Plunkett was added into the squad as his replacement. The team features a lot of explosive batsmen and their stock of overseas fast bowlers looks pretty solid too. Australian limited-overs specialist Glenn Maxwell is their most expensive purchase of the IPL 11. Their batting looks solid enough with Gambhir, Munro and Roy at the top of the order, but bowling is where they seem to have fallen short which could be the reason for their undoing.
They are the first team of the IPL 2018 to have been thrown out of the race for the playoffs. Their five-wicket loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore at home laid all their hopes to rest and they cannot possibly finish in the top four even if they win both their remaining matches. The Daredevils are right down at the bottom of the standings with just six points from twelve games and can finish with only ten points at most.
Shreyas Iyer (c), Gautam Gambhir, Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett, Junior Dala
With explosive batsmen like Colin Munro, Jason Roy, Glenn Maxwell, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, the Delhi Daredevils have a batting line-up that could challenge any bowling attack in the tournament.
Bowling has to be the biggest worry for the Daredevils. Barring Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami and Liam Plunkett, there really isn't another reliable option in the bowling department. Amit Mishra who has not played International cricket for quite a long time seems to be past his prime while Shahbaz Nadeem has not been able to make a mark yet at this level.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel is the only one who was retained by the KXIP in their 21-man squad. Andrew Tye and Marcus Stoinis are two of their seven overseas recruitments who are in good form but Chris Gayle and David Miller have not been at their best of late. The team's biggest worry would be the lack of a specialist wicket-keeping option and how well Ravichandran Ashwin is able to take up his new role as captain of the side. KXIP look spoilt for choices when it comes to batting, but apart from Ashwin and Andrew Tye, their bowling does not instill too much confidence.
Three consecutive defeats against Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore has pushed Kings XI Punjab down to the fifth spot in the IPL 2018 league standings. With 12 points from as many matches, they now need to win at least one of their remaining two fixtures in order to stay alive in the tournament. However, it will make things a lot more comfortable for them if they win both those games.
Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Axar Patel, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar
Kings XI Punjab have a power-packed batting line-up. Aaron Finch and Chris Gayle are two of the world's most threatening opening batsmen while the destructive David Miller is one of the better finishers in the game. They also have a couple of good spin options in Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Middle order looks a bit vulnerable with Yuvraj Singh and Marcus Stoinis not being consistent enough. Lack of experience in the pace attack is also an area of concern for the KXIP. Except Andrew Tye, no other fast bowler looks reliable and penetrative.
CSK retained their skipper MS Dhoni along with top-order batsman Suresh Raina and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. They have been hit by a couple of injury blows. New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner will be unavailable for the entire season due to a knee injury while key batsman Kedar Jadhav who sustained a hamstring injury during the game against Mumbai Indians has also been ruled out of the tournament. The latter has been replaced by England all-rounder David Willey. The Super Kings went only for the seasoned campaigners on the first day of the auction and picked up eight uncapped players the very next day. Pacemen Lungi Ngidi and Mark Wood are part of the Super Kings' 25-man squad but they don't have any experience of playing in Indian conditions. The presence of several experienced campaigners will benefit the team in critical moments and with a successful skipper like Dhoni at the helm, they should make it to the play-offs.
Positioned second on the points table, the Chennai Super Kings have joined Sunrisers Hyderabad to qualify for the playoffs. Their eight-wicket win against SRH at home took them to 16 points and they were then guaranteed a spot in the top four after Rajasthan Royals defeated the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede. CSK now have 16 points with eight wins from twelve matches.
MS Dhoni (c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungisani Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willey
The presence of experienced campaigners in the batting line-up is the biggest plus point of this Chennai Super Kings side. There is plenty of depth in their batting with the likes of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson. What's more, the team has retained most of its players from the 2015 season.
An inexperienced pace attack seems to be a major concern for CSK. Mark Wood and Lungi Ngidi are impressive bowlers but they don't have any prior experience of playing on Indian pitches. Plus, the Indian seamers Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur and KM Asif have not been tested at this level.
Ajinkya Rahane is leading the team this year in place of Steven Smith who was banned from playing the IPL's 11th edition on account of his involvement in the ball-tampering saga. Heinrich Klaasen, the wicketkeeper-batsman from South Africa, was drafted into the squad as replacement for Smith. Meanwhile, the Royals have signed Kiwi spinner Ish Sodhi as a like-for-like replacement for the injured Afghanistan spinner Zahir Khan. The franchise bagged the two most expensive signings at the player auction - England ace all-rounder Ben Stokes and Indian seamer Jaydev Unadkat who had an impressive last season. They have packed in a lot of players who played for the Rising Pune Supergiant last year. With a fine mix of big-hitting batsmen and threatening fast bowlers, the Royals could give the rest of the teams a good run for their money. The team appears slightly thin on spin options but that is unlikely to stop them from having a successful season.
Their comfortable seven-wicket victory over the Mumbai Indians in their last match boosted their net run-rate as well as their chances of qualifying for the playoffs. Currently fifth on the table, the Royals have 12 points from as many matches and require just one more win to stand a good chance of making it through. Wins in both the remaining games however would seal the deal for Rahane and his royals.
Ajinkya Rahane (c), Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Rahul Tripathi, D Arcy Short, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Heinrich Klaasen, Ish Sodhi
Shane Warne has returned as the mentor of the Rajasthan Royals and this will be a big boost for the team as the former Australian cricketer had led the Royals to title triumph in the inaugural season of the IPL. The likes of Jaydev Unadkat, Joffra Archer, Ben Laughlin and Ben Stokes make up an impressive pace attack.
The decision of not picking an established spinner in the squad could backfire. Their death bowling will also be affected in case Jofra Archer gets injured and is ruled out of the tournament. Also, the lack of international quality in their batting is going to put additional pressure on Rahane, Stokes and Buttler.
Sunrisers Hyderabad are favorites amongst the bookmakers to win the Indian Premier League 2018 at odds of 2.0 on Betfair and 4.50 each on Bet365 and Betway
Kolkata Knight Riders are 12.0 on Betfair, 7.0 on Bet365 and 6.0 on Betway while Royal Challengers Bangalore are 13.0 on Betfair and 8.0 on Bet365 and 7.0 on Betway.
Chennai Super Kings currently stand slightly higher at 6.00 each on Betfair and Bet365 and 6.50 on Betway
Rajasthan Royals are 11.0 on Betfair, 9.0 on Bet365, and 8.50 on Betway to win the IPL 11.
The odds for Kings XI Punjab to win the IPL 2018 currently stand at 5.5 on Betfair, 7.0 on Bet365, and 6.5 on Betway.
Delhi Daredevils are the bookmakers' underdogs and are being offered at the highest price of 13.0 each on Betway and Bet365, and 41 on Betfair
Led by a new captain in Dinesh Karthik, Kolkata Knight Riders seem to have a formidable bowling attack but injuries to some of their key members including pace spearhead Mitchell Starc has left them short on resources. As for the Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils, they have a pretty strong batting group but it is their insipid bowling attack that could cost them a play-offs berth this season. And the same goes for the Mumbai Indians who look short on options when it comes to spin, and even though they do have quality all-rounders on their roster, that may not suffice to take them past the league stage.
So that leaves Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore as our best bets to break into the top four in this year's IPL. Of these four teams, RCB looks to be the more settled in all departments of the game. With stalwarts like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson, Moeen Ali and Quinton de Kock, the franchise is one of the strongest sides on paper and arguably the best batting unit in this tournament. They also made some smart picks at the auction. Instead of going for the glamour ones like Chris Gayle, they went for the more tried-and-tested players most of whom have been in a good run of form. The franchise will look to put a disastrous last season behind them and if they can just play to their potential, this could be the season for Kohli and his boys.
Chennai Super Kings, with plenty of experienced campaigners in their squad, won't be easy to beat this season and we feel that they have the requisite firepower to go all the way this season. So back CSK to win the IPL 2018 at odds of 1.83 with Betway and 1.80 with Bet365.
Here's everything you wanted to know about the tournament's 11th edition; what it is, how it works, latest betting odds, how to bet on it and more.
The IPL is one of the world's most popular Twenty20 cricket competitions played in India, its country of origin, featuring eight city-based franchises that are comprised of international cricketing stars along with emerging local players. 2018 will be the tournament's 11th year and will have 60 matches in all to be played over a period of nearly two months.
The eight teams will face each other twice in the double round-robin league stage, at the end of which the top four teams will advance to the play-offs. While the top two teams will clash in Qualifier 1 for a direct entry to the final, the third and fourth ranked teams will face-off in the Eliminator where the loser gets knocked out of the tournament. The winner of this match will then play the loser of Qualifier 1 in Qualifier 2 for a place in the final.
While Star Sports will broadcast the tournament's 11th season in India and its neighbouring countries Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, Sky Sports and Fox Sports will provide live coverage in the UK and Australia respectively. Viewers of the Middle East and North Africa Countries can catch all the action live on OSN Sports Cricket HD. Online live streaming of the IPL 2018 is available on Hotstar, Bet365, Sky Go and OSN Play.
Qualifier 1 - May 22, Tuesday at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Eliminator - May 23, Wednesday
Qualifier 2 - May 25, Friday
Final - May 27, Sunday at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Ben Stokes, Rajasthan Royals: £1.4m
Jaydev Unadkat, Rajasthan Royals: £1.26m
Manish Pandey, Sunrisers Hyderabad: £1.2m
KL Rahul, Kings XI Punjab: £1.2m
Chris Lynn, Kolkata Knight Riders: £1.05m
Mitchell Starc, Kolkata Knight Riders: £1.03m
Glenn Maxwell, Delhi Daredevils: £992,200
Rashid Khan, Sunrisers Hyderabad: £992,200
Krunal Pandya, Mumbai Indians: £970,300
Sanju Samson, Rajasthan Royals: £882,100
IPL 2018 outright winner odds:
Chennai Super Kings - 1.80
Kolkata Knight Riders - 3.50
Sunrisers Hyderabad - 4.00
While there are a number of websites on the internet where you can bet on, also known as sportsbooks or bookmakers, the ones that are among the most trusted and reputed are Bet365, Betfair, Betway, Unibet and Ladbrokes. Of all these, Bet365 stands out as our favorite online cricket betting site as its user-friendly interface lets punters place their bets conveniently while simultaneously allowing them to watch the live stream of the game they have wagered on, and that too in high quality.
Though numerous betting markets are available for the 2018 Indian Premier League, the most popular types of bets include:
Match Winner - A favorite among online punters, the match winner market deals with placing a bet on the outcome of a particular match. A pre-match bet would mean locking your bet before the start of a match and an in-play bet means wagering on a team while the match is in progress.
IPL Winner - This type of bet means betting on the outright winner of the 11th season of the IPL. The odds of all the eight teams are available with the bookmakers before the start of the tournament and may fluctuate after the completion of each match.
Top Batsman/Bowler - This bet can be placed either for a particular match or for the entire IPL tournament. The punter bets on the batsman or bowler who he/she thinks could finish the match/tournament as the highest run-scorer or highest wicket-taker for his side.
Toss Winner - The punter doesn't require any skills for this one, only fortune as it involves betting on the team that is more likely to win the coin toss. Generally in this market, both teams are priced exactly the same with a bookmaker.
Man of the Match - Here, a bet is placed on the player who has the highest probability of receiving the Man of the Match award at the end of an IPL match. This type of betting market requires the punter to have good knowledge of each and every player in the playing eleven of both the teams.
While there are so many websites on the internet that offer cricket betting tips, it isn't easy to find those that are genuine and profitable in the long run. At Cricketbetting.net, we bring you research-based predictions and tips straight from our cricket experts for free. Be sure to visit our Betting Tips section for the latest predictions and betting tips for the IPL 2018.