The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is on its way. Here we trace back some of the iconic team rivalries and what makes them special.
The Boss himself has tasted the biggest IPL rivalries at first hand! And now we are ready to share his exclusive insights with you…
Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore (MI v RCB)
- India’s two best T20 batsmen Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma captain RCB and MI. Team-mates at international level, rivals at IPL level
One of the most awaited encounters in the IPL is MI vs RCB that put two of India’s best limited-overs cricketers against each other – Rohit Sharma vs Virat Kohli. While Rohit has helped MI win five titles, the Indian captain Kohli has failed to win even one IPL trophy. Moreover, MI lead 19-10 in the head-to-head and have also won four out of their last six meetings in the IPL. MI pacer Bumrah has claimed 19 RCB wickets so far, while Kohli and de Villiers have scored 600-plus runs each against MI.
It will be interesting to see who tastes success in MI vs RCB games in the upcoming edition of IPL.
Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Capitals (CSK v DC)
- Shikhar Dhawan hit a brilliant century when these two played in last year’s IPL. Can the brilliant Dhawan repeat the trick?
A see-sawing battle of late, Chennai have a 15-8 win-loss record against Delhi Capitals, but lost both their matches last season against Delhi. In 2019, Chennai had won all three games. The extremes indicate that the two franchises share a pretty intense rivalry.
Chennai have declined as a squad and Delhi have grown in stature, even reaching the finals last season. They have greater odds of winning the head-to-head games against Chennai this season.
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders (SRH v KKR)
- Bangladesh premium all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan used to be at KKR before switching to SRH, only to return to the Knight Riders again this season. The Sunrisers will be after his wicket, while Shakib will be keen to put in a big performance against his former team
Aside from the fact that the Sunrisers have taken up quite a few former Kolkata players, the franchise has grown leaps and bounds to become one of the premier teams in the IPL.
KKR are good, but Sunrisers have a strong bowling attack to counter Kolkata’s big-hitters and we can see them winning both their encounters against Kolkata this season.
Rajasthan Royals v Punjab Kings (RR v PBKS)
- They’re both from Northern Indian states which border each other. The rivalry is intense. …and so is the pressure to come out on top
RR lead their head-to-head by 12-9 and won both their matches against PBKS last season. Meanwhile, both sides have clinched four wins against each other in their previous eight meetings. RR bought Chris Morris, who became the most expensive player (INR 16.25 crore) in the history of IPL auction, Liam Livingstone, who is coming off a great run at the Big Bash League (BBL), and all-rounder Shivam Dube and have boosted their chances further ahead of IPL 2021.
Rajasthan registered IPL history’s highest run chase by chasing down PBKS’ target of 224.
Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians (KKR v MI)
- While this may be one of the more lopsided rivalries in the IPL, this hasn’t stopped Kolkata Knight Riders trying to get the better of competition heavyweights Mumbai Indians
KKR have reached the IPL playoffs six times since 2008. Their stiffest and most historic domestic rival remain the Mumbai Indians. Kolkata have won just six of the 27 games between these sides since the beginning of the IPL.
The five-time title winners, Mumbai have a great team and have great odds of beating Kolkata again this year.
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Royal Challengers Bangalore (SRH v RCB)
- When SRH won their only title to date back in 2016, it was RCB they beat in the final in a high-scoring thriller. Virat Kohli and co won’t have forgiven them
The 2020 IPL saw some of the best contests between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore with the eliminator in particular standing out. The battle between AB de Villiers and Rashid Khan makes this one of the most watched out for contests in the IPL.
RCB have added more middle-order firepower in the auction and are finally favourites to beat Hyderabad in head-to-head games this season.
Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Capitals (RR v DC)
- Steve Smith spent quite a few seasons at Rajasthan before they released him in 2020. Now a DC player, he’ll want to show the Royals what they’re missing out on
DC and RR have gone neck and neck so far, with both the sides winning 11 games each so far. Considering DC won both their matches against RR in IPL 2020 and in their last six meetings, RR have managed to win just one match, Sanju Samson will have a task in hand when RR face DC in IPL 2021. He’ll have to lead from the front against DC’s Rabada, Nortje, and Umesh Yadav.
While both teams will say there’s no bad blood between them, the fact is that the Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals have a fierce yet healthy rivalry. This generally results in some epic clashes for fans.
Punjab Kings v Chennai Super Kings (PBKS v CSK)
- It’s the battle of the superstar wicket-keeper batsmen with MS Dhoni for Chennai and KL Rahul for Punjab Kings. Will it be Dhoni’s day, or will Rahul win the race?
CSK lead the head-to-head record in the IPL with 15-9. Even though the MS Dhoni-led side had a forgettable tournament in 2020, they won both their games against PBKS. Raina, who missed the IPL last season, is expected to return this term. With 711 runs, he has been CSK’s best batsman against Punjab.
Going into the IPL 2021, CSK may have an upper hand against these opponents, considering the side has been victorious in six out of their last eight meetings against PK. The only season where PBKS had thoroughly dominated over CSK was in 2014, where Punjab had won all their three games against CSK, courtesy of Glenn Maxwell and Virender Sehwag’s significant contribution with the bat.
By buying Jhye Richardson, World No. 1 Dawid Malan, and bowling all-rounder Sharukh Khan, PBKS have bolstered the side and that could help them perform better this season.