2015 - Indian Premier League
The eighth season of the Indian Premier League is due to get under way on April 8th 2015, and bookmaker Betfair have already priced up this exciting cricket tournament. With two IPL title victories already behind them, the Chennai Super Kings have been installed as the 7/2 market leaders by the Betfair odds compilers. The Super Kings are the most successful side in the history of the Indian Premier League, thanks in the main to their back to back IPL successes in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Having been the first Indian side to win the Champions League Twenty20, Chennai are also one of the most consistent teams in the IPL and they consolidated their position by once again lifting the Champions League trophy last year. In Suresh Raina, the Super Kings have one of the best batsman in Twenty20 cricket, and they are also fortunate to have the services of top wicket-taker Ravichandran Ashwin. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has done a solid job during his time at the helm, and the Super Kings look set for another successful season.
A serious commercial success since it began in 2008, the Indian Premier League is the most popular Twenty20 cricket competitions in the world and has recently been valued at in excess of three billion dollars. A total of eight teams compete in the IPL, with each requiring a minimum of 16 players, as well as a physiotherapist and a coach. At least 14 of the squad must be made up of Indian players, while a maximum of just four foreign players can be a part of the first team. Teams first take part in a round robin tournament, before playoffs are utilised in the latter part of the season to determine the Indian Premier League champion. The 2015 IPL season is expected to feature a total of 60 matches, with the tournament coming to a conclusion on May 24th.
The Kolkata Knight Riders are the defending IPL champions, and are likely to make a bold bid to retain the crown. Currently a 5/1 chance in the Betfair market for the 2015 Indian Premier League, the Knight Riders are the joint third favourites for the title, alongside the Mumbai Indians. While they struggled in their first few seasons, the Kolkata Knight Riders had a huge following thanks to various celebrity owners, and the side have really come into their own over the past couple of years. In 2011, the Kolkata team underwent a massive overhaul which had a positive knock on effect as far as results were concerned. After reaching the playoffs and finishing fourth in the league in 2011, the Knight Riders won the title in 2012, before adding a second championship last year. The Mumbai Indians captured their first IPL title in 2013, and look set to be a force once again this year. This talented squad of players have made the playoffs at worst for the last four seasons in succession and the acquisitions of Unmukt Chand and Vinay Kumar this past November can only enhance the Mumbai Indians chances of another positive campaign in 2015.
Another side which must be taken seriously during the upcoming IPL tournament are the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The second favourites are available at odds of 9/2 with online sportsbook Betfair, and are sure to be a popular choice with cricket punters at those kind of odds. Virat Kohli’s men are now coached by Daniel Vettori and while their previous IPL results have been nothing to get excited about, this looks set to be an interesting new dawn for the Royal Challengers.