The Indian Premier League commences on Saturday with two new franchises, an alternative format and no MS Dhoni as captain for the 15th edition of the tournament.

Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans will make their IPL debuts when they lock horns at the Wankhede Stadium.

The iconic stadium in Mumbai will also stage the opening match, which will see defending champions Chennai Super Kings do battle with Kolkata Knight Riders in a repeat of last year's final.

CSK won the title for a fourth time last October, lifting the trophy in Dubai after the tournament had to be completed in the United Arab Emirates and Oman due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dhoni stepped down as skipper just two days before the opening game and Ravindra Jadeja has been charged with the task of replacing him.

Crowds will be allowed back in the four stadiums in Mumbai and Pune, with 70 league matches and four play-off showdowns to come over a 65-day period.

 

NEW FORMAT A VIRTUAL REALITY 

There will be two virtual groups based on the number of IPL titles won, followed by how many finals teams have contested.

Each side will take on their group rivals twice and also face two matches against one team from the other group. They will come up against the other teams from a different group just once.

KKR will take on five-time champions Mumbai Indians twice, as they are both in Group A, while Sunrisers Hyderabad are in Group B along with CSK.

 

SUPER GIANTS AND TITANS READY FOR THE BIG TIME

Lucknow and Gujarat will start life in the IPL with high hopes of making a big impact.

KL Rahul will lead the Super Giants side that has Andy Flower as coach. Big things will be expected of Quinton de Kock, Jason Holder and Marcus Stoinis but Mark Wood has been ruled out, so Andrew Tye was brought in as a replacement.

Hardik Pandya was appointed as Titans captain and Ashish Nehra coach. Star spinner Rashid Khan and Mohammed Shami were standout signings for Gujarat. Aaron Finch must bring fireworks at the top of the order after he was a late replacement for Jason Roy.

 

JADEJA WITH 'BIG BOOTS TO FILL'

Dhoni had led CSK since the inaugural IPL in 2008, so it was the end of an era when he stepped down on Thursday.

The 40-year-old will continue to play for the Super Kings and it is India all-rounder Jadeja who will step up to skipper the defending champions.

Jadeja said: "I'm feeling good. At the same time, I also need to fill in big boots, [Dhoni] has already set the big legacy so I need to carry [that] forward. I don't need to worry too much because he is here so whenever I have a question to ask, I'll definitely go to him.

"He'll be my go-to person. He was and still he is today, so I'm not worried too much."

 

 

FIT FOR THE KINGS?

Punjab Kings went into the auction with the biggest purse and their new recruits will be expected to deliver.

Powerful all-rounder Liam Livingstone was picked up for a whopping Rs 11.5 crore and his England team-mate Jonny Bairstow was another acquisition.

New skipper Mayank Agarwal will look to South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada to fire a new dawn for the franchise.

Ravindra Jadeja knows he has "big boots" to fill after he replaced MS Dhoni as Chennai Super Kings captain.

It was the end of an era on Thursday as the defending champions announced that Dhoni had decided to relinquish the captaincy.

The former India captain has led CSK from the start of the IPL in 2008, guiding the franchise to four titles and losing five finals.

Dhoni lifted the trophy in Dubai last year after his side beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final.

The 40-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman steps down just two days before the Super Kings start the defence of their title against KKR at the Wankhede Stadium.

India all-rounder Jadeja has been charged with the task of replacing Dhoni, who will continue to play for the franchise this season and beyond, and knows he will be a hard act to follow.

Jadeja said: "I'm feeling good. At the same time, I also need to fill in big boots, [Dhoni] has already set the big legacy so I need to carry [that] forward.

"I don't need to worry too much because he is here so whenever I have a question to ask, I'll definitely go to him.

"He'll be my go-to person. He was and still he is today, so I'm not worried too much."

England fast bowler Mark Wood will miss the rest of the West Indies Test series and his Indian Premier League stint with the Lucknow Giants due to an elbow injury.

Wood, 32, bowled 17 overs in the first Test in Antigua before suffering an issue with his right elbow and subsequently underwent two scans since arriving in Barbados for England's second outing.

Those scans have confirmed a problem with his bowling arm and he will now return to England for "a specialist opinion regarding the management of his injury".

The Durham quick will take an "indefinite break from cricket until more information is determined from the elbow specialist", which leaves him unable to feature in the third Test that starts on March 24 in Grenada.

Wood has also been ruled out of contention for the IPL with the Giants, who paid £735,000 for Wood in the auction and start their IPL campaign against fellow debutants Gujarat Titans on 28 March.

England, who are already without injured duo Olly Stone and Jofra Archer, are yet to confirm whether they will call up a fast-bowling replacement, with Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson likely to return soon.

Wood was the pick of England's bowlers in the poor series against Australia, finishing as Joe Root's leading wicket-taker with 17 dismissals, including his first Ashes five-for, during his four appearances in the five-Test series.

South Africa will field a severely depleted side in the Test series against Bangladesh after a group of star players put the Indian Premier League above national duty.

Captain Dean Elgar had appealed for loyalty from team-mates earlier this month, as they faced a big decision on whether to play in the two Tests or join up with their IPL sides after the ODI series with Bangladesh.

Elgar said at the time: "The players need to give Cricket South Africa an indication of if they are keen to go to the IPL or if they are keen to play for the Test side. It's a bit of a tough one putting that in the players' box but... this is where you see where players' loyalty lies."

With lucrative IPL deals in place, those signed up for duty in that competition have elected to fulfil their commitments in that regard, with the tournament getting under way on March 26 in Mumbai.

It means South Africa will be without pace bowling stars Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen for the Tests, plus batsmen Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) could not stand in the way of players putting the IPL first, under an agreement with the South African Cricketers' Association, and have had to delve deeper into their playing pool to produce a squad to face the touring Bangladesh side.

There were call-ups on Thursday for the likes of Khaya Zondo, Daryn Dupavillon and Lizaad Williams, who could make Test debuts.

CSA convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang said: "The loss of the IPL players is not ideal, but we back the CSA system, its ever-growing pipeline and most of all, the players we have selected.

"Every member of the team is selected based on the excellence that they have shown over an extended period of time. There is no better opportunity for them than now, to show us what they have to offer the Proteas on this highly anticipated occasion."

The first Test begins at Kingsmead on March 31, with the second game starting on April 8 at St George's Park. A three-match ODI series between full-strength South Africa and Bangladesh teams gets under way on Friday.

South Africa squad: Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Ryan Rickelton, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo.

Alex Hales has withdrawn from the Indian Premier League due to bubble fatigue.

The English batter had been due to play for Kolkata Knight Riders in a tournament that starts on March 26.

Hales on Friday revealed he will not travel to India due to the strains of spending so much time in bio-secure environments due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

He tweeted: "I am sad to announce that I have made the extremely difficult decision to withdraw from the forthcoming IPL.

"Having spent the last four months away from home in restrictive bio bubbles and having tested positive for COVID myself in Australia, I don't feel as though I can commit myself to another extended period within a secure environment.

"It wouldn't be fair on the team or myself if I wasn't able to perform to the level expected of me as a result of ongoing bubble fatigue.

"I am truly gutted to have to turn down one of the best opportunities of my career due to the toll that the last two years of bubble life has taken on my mental well-being.

"I'll now take some time to rest and recharge ahead of the summer."

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will face Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening game of the 2022 Indian Premier League.

KKR will be out for revenge at the Wankhede Stadium on March 26 after the Super Kings won the 2021 final by 27 runs in Dubai last October.

There will be a first double-header in the 15th edition of the tournament the following day, when Delhi Capital take on Mumbai Indians at Brabourne before Punjab Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore do battle at the DY Patil Stadium.

New franchises Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants meet in their first IPL match at Wankhede Stadium on March 28.

Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals contest the first game at the MCA Stadium in Pune on March 29.

There will be 70 matches in the regular season following by four play-off showdowns in a tournament that will be staged over 65 days, with the final taking place on May 29.

England batsman Jason Roy has pulled out of this year's Indian Premier League for personal reasons.

The 31-year-old had been due to play for new franchise Gujarat Titans in the competition, which runs from March 26 to May 29.

However, Roy announced in a statement on his personal Instagram account on Tuesday that he will no longer be taking part in a blow for the Titans.

It is the second time Roy has pulled out of the competition, having also done so in 2020 after being picked by Delhi Capitals.

Roy, who welcomed his second child in January, said: "It's with a heavy heart I have decided to pull out of this year's tournament.

"I want to thank the management and the captain Hardik [Pandya] for putting your faith in me and picking me in the auction.

"However, with everything going on in the world over the last 3 years, it's added up and taken its toll on me. I feel it's only right I spend some quality time with my family. 

"As well as spending time working on myself and my game over the next couple of months leading in to a very busy year.

"I will be following each game of the Titans and backing them to lift the trophy in their first year of the tournament.

"Thank you everyone for the continued support and I hope you can all respect and appreciate my decision."

Roy played in the Pakistan Super League last month and is in contention to feature for England in the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

Attacking left-hander Nicholas Pooran was the most expensive West Indian purchase at the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction which began on Saturday.

Pooran went to the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise for 10.75 crore (USD 1.43 million).

The Sunrisers will be his third IPL franchise after previously representing the Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings.

Jason Holder, formerly of the Sunrisers, will be suiting up for the new Lucknow Super Giants after being snapped up for 8.5 crore (USD 1.16 million).

Dwayne Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer were the only other West Indians sold on day 1 to the Chennai Super Kings for 4.4 crore (USD 583,953.04) and the Rajasthan Royals for 8.5 crore, respectively.

Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard were all retained by their respective franchises before the auction.

Indian left-hander Ishan Kishan had the honour of being the most expensive pick-up of this year’s auction after going to the Mumbai Indians for 15.25 crore (USD 2.03 million).

Day 2 of the auction takes place on Sunday.

 

KL Rahul has officially joined newcomers Lucknow for the new Indian Premier League season, it was revealed on Friday.

The move was widely expected and has reportedly seen Lucknow spend INR 17 crore (£1.68million) to acquire the India batsman.

Lucknow, who have yet to reveal their full name ahead of the 2022 season, have also signed up Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rahul arrives after leaving Punjab Kings, the team he previously captained in the competition. He scored 626 IPL runs last season at an average of 62.6, including six half-centuries, with only Ruturaj Gaikwad (635) and Faf du Plessis (633) more prolific with the bat.

Rahul blasted the most sixes (30), including eight in one innings of 98 against Chennai Super Kings in October.

Lucknow team owner Sanjiv Goenka said: "KL is not only an outstanding batsman but also a great wicketkeeper.

"Marcus is a great finisher, a good bowler and a phenomenal fielder."

Stoinis has previously been a key figure for Delhi Capitals and Lucknow have spent INR 9.2 crore (£910,000) on the Perth man, according to the Times of India.

Young spinner Ravi Bishnoi has also been signed up after leaving Punjab Kings, as Lucknow's third draft pick.

According to Cricinfo, Goenka told Star Sports: "We want players to be here for three, four, five, six, seven, eight years.

"KL will be the captain. I have been very impressed with not only his batting and wicketkeeping, but also his leadership skills. He is evolving, growing, maturing as a leader. He is somebody I would've wanted to lead the team and I do believe that given the right atmosphere, environment, he will emerge as a remarkable leader."

Former England boss Andy Flower was appointed head coach of Lucknow in December.

Fellow IPL newcomers Team Ahmedabad have picked Hardik Pandya, who will be their captain, alongside Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill in their draft picks.

 

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has announced his retirement from all formats of cricket at the age of 41.

Harbhajan will go down as one of India's greatest spinners, having taken 417 Test wickets in 103 matches.

He sits fourth on the list of his country's leading Test wicket-takers and is India's fifth-highest ODI wicket-taker with 269 tom 236 games.

Harbhajan also played in 28 Twenty20 Internationals, picking up 25 scalps, and also featured for his country in 2016.

The tweaker on Friday revealed that his long, illustrious career has come to an end.

He tweeted: "All good things come to an end and today as I bid adieu to the game that has given me everything in life.

"I would like to thank everyone who made this 23-year-long journey beautiful and memorable. My heartfelt thank you. Grateful."

Harbhajan last played for Kolkata Knight Riders in April.

 

Virat Kohli hailed AB de Villiers as "the best player of our times" after the South Africa legend announced his retirement on Friday.

De Villers called time on his illustrious career at the age of 37 after establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.

A mercurial batsman, brilliant fielder and fine wicketkeeper when called upon to don the gloves, De Villers made 114 Test appearances, playing in 228 ODIs and featured in 78 T20Is.

De Villiers scored an astonishing 20,014 runs at international level and made 47 centuries to go down as a Proteas great.

He was also outstanding for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and Kohli paid a glowing tribute to his former team-mate.

The India Test and ODI captain tweeted: "To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I've met, you can be very proud of what you've done and what you've given to RCB my brother. Our bond is beyond the game and will always be.

"This hurts my heart but I know you've made the best decision for yourself and your family like you've always done. I love you."

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis tweeted: "Well done @ABdeVilliers17 on a special career. I've been extremely lucky to be on the same cricket field as you.

"The game will not be the same without you. The greatest player I have played with."

Cricket South Africa posted: "Thank you for the memories, the records broken and the entertainment @ABdeVilliers17. We salute your contribution to the game and wish you everything of the best for the future."

RCB expressed their gratitude to De Villiers for the impact he made at the IPL franchise. 

"End of an era! There's nobody like you, AB. We'll miss you dearly at RCB. For all that you've done and given to the team, to the fans, and to cricket lovers in general, #ThankYouAB. Happy retirement, legend!" RCB posted.

The Chennai Super Kings won their fourth Indian Premier League title after victory in an enthralling final against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

A brilliant batting display led by Faf du Plessis's superb 86 saw MS Dhoni's men reach 192-3 in the first innings in Dubai.

KKR, who had won both of their previous IPL finals in 2012 and 2014, made a decent fight of a forlorn-looking chase but finished 27 runs short on 165-9.

Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad (32), the top-scoring batsman of the IPL season, put up an opening stand of 61 before the latter was caught by Shivam Mari off a delivery from Sunil Narine (2-26).

Du Plessis was unperturbed, blunting the Knight Riders' attack with ruthless efficiency in a stellar knock. Robin Uthappa also scored 31 off just 15 balls before being trapped lbw and Moeen Ali kept up the impeccable standards with 37.

By the time Du Plessis was caught by Mari at long-on off the final ball of the innings, KKR's hopes were already looking slim, although they still mustered a creditable challenge.

Dhoni, in his 300th match as a captain in T20 cricket, dropped what looked a routine catch in the second over and Venkatesh Iyer took full advantage as he raced to a half-century.

It looked as though his stand with Shubman Gill (51) was finally over at 79-0 when Ambati Rayudu got a fine running catch, but Gill was granted a dead-ball reprieve after it struck one of the spider-cam cables on its way down.

Iyer was not so fortunate when he sent another ball from Shardul Thakur (3-38) high into the sky, Ravindra Jadeja grasping it in outstretched fingers as Kolkata's hopes took a major blow.

Du Plessis caught Nitish Rana for a first-ball duck and Narine holed out to Jadeja four deliveries later, as the middle order began to collapse.

Gill (51) was struck flush on the pad as he tried an ambitious scoop shot before Dinesh Karthik, Shakib Al Hasan and Rahul Tripathi were out for 11 runs combined.

Captain Eoin Morgan fell five runs short of reaching 1,000 in the IPL, Deepak Chahar taking a brilliant boundary catch, as the party started among the yellow shirts in the stands long before the fireworks flared after the final ball.

 

Four-midables

The Super Kings have now beaten the Knight Riders in six of their past seven IPL meetings, including the previous four in a row.

This was their ninth final, at least three more than any other side has reached, but they had only won three of the previous eight and were beaten by Kolkata in the showpiece nine years ago.

Yet their batting display was of a quality worthy of champions, Du Plessis in particular showing power and poise as he hit seven fours and three sixes en route to a third IPL title with the franchise.

Luckless Lockie

Before this match, Kolkata had a bowling dot-ball figure of 40 per cent, the best of any side in the competition. Here, they had little answer to the Super Kings' batting excellence.

Lockie Ferguson endured an especially tough time, posting figures of 0-56 and giving up nine boundaries and two wide balls from just four overs.

Eoin Morgan hailed the pressure-free environment Kolkata Knight Riders have created after his side sneaked past Delhi Capitals to reach the Indian Premier League final.

The Knight Riders limited Rishabh Pant's side to 135-5 and seemed certain for victory after a 96-opening run stand from Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer.

However, a flurry of late wickets left Kolkata requiring seven to win off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over to secure their final berth and maintain their perfect chasing record since the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Rahul Tripathi stood up to the task, blasting Ashwin's fourth ball for six after the off-spinner had removed Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with consecutive deliveries to leave the score at 130-7.

And Morgan cited Wednesday's qualifier clash as an example of the freedom of expression that the Knight Riders' culture has created.

"It should've been a lot easier after the start we got, Venky [Venkatesh Iyer] and [Shubman] Gill set us the platform," Morgan said at the post-match presentations.

"But we're in the final and we're delighted to get over the line. Six off two [in the final over], the odds were probably in favour of the bowling side, but Rahul Tripathi has done superbly well for us.

"It's a nice insight into our team culture. The young guys coming in are feeling free to express themselves. The backroom staff have created an environment for them to do this."

Iyer was bumped up the order after the coronavirus-enforced delay and the two-time IPL champions have since won seven out of nine matches – winning four games in a row for the first time since the 2018 edition of the tournament.

However, Morgan refused to take credit for the top-order alteration as Iyer continues to thrive, blasting 320 runs in the competition across nine matches at an average of 40.

"The Iyer idea [his elevation] came from the coach, he's a terrific player," England and KKR's captain continued. "He made the chase easy, it looked like he was batting on a different wicket.

"With the squad we have, there's expectation. We would like to keep going and we are playing against Chennai Super Kings – one of the best franchises in IPL history – but anything can happen."

Kolkata Knight Riders secured their place in the Indian Premier League final with a last-gasp three-wicket win over the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2.

Eoin Morgan's side limited the Capitals to 135-5 from their 20-over allocation as Varun Chakravarthy (2-26) was ably supported by Lockie Ferguson (1-26) and Shivam Mavi (1-27).

Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Shreyas Iyer (30 not out) were the pick of the batsmen but the Capitals were left facing an uphill battle, knowing Kolkata had won on all five occasions they have chased following the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer then got the Knight Riders off to a flyer, forming a 96-run opening partnership as the former raced to a 38-ball half-century before falling to Kagiso Rabada (2-23).

The Capitals, who are the only side to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, managed to remove Nitish Rana (13) and Gill through Anrich Nortje (2-31) and Avesh Khan (1-22) respectively to leave the score at 125 after 16.4 overs.

Rabada knocked over experienced campaigner Dinesh Karthik (0) to further hamper the chase and when Morgan (0) followed in the same manner to Nortje, seven runs were required off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over.

Ashwin (2-27) conceded just one off his first two balls, removing Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with his following two, before Rahul Tripathi (12 not out) smashed a maximum to collect the Knight Riders' seventh win in their last nine matches with just one ball to spare.

The win means Morgan's team will meet MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in Friday's final as the Capitals fell before the showpiece once more.

Classy Chakravarthy

Chakravarthy may have overstepped and offered Shimron Heytmer a lifeline on just two, however, the Kolkata bowler escaped without too much punishment as the West Indian mustered just 15 more runs.

The 30-year-old was the only Knight Riders bowler to not concede a single maximum, delivering seven dot balls in an economical spell through the middle overs.

Nervy Narine

Narine was the man of the hour against the Royal Challengers Bangalore as he took 4-21 and blasted a 15-ball 26, but he failed to back up that heroic performance.

The KKR off-spinner went wicketless in his four-over allocation, conceding 27 runs before falling for a first-ball duck as he looked to launch his side to victory.

Sunil Narine played an inspirational role with the ball and then provided a boost with the bat as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore with two balls remaining to move to within one match of their first Indian Premier League final since 2014.

First, Narine (4-21) was essential in ensuring Bangalore could only set a modest target of 138 runs as he took a match-high four wickets, and then his arrival at the crease provided KKR with direction at just the right time as they ultimately reached 139-6.

Delhi Capitals await in the next round as they prepare to tussle for the right to face Chennai Super Kings in the final, marking an incredible turnaround in KKR's fortunes after winning only two of their first seven matches prior to the season's suspension in May.

Bangalore had initially looked in good shape as Virat Kohli (39) and Devdutt Padikkal (21) helped them to 49-0 after five overs, before the latter went to Lockie Ferguson at the start of the sixth.

They did not lose another wicket until Narine's first over in the 10th as he tempted Srikar Bharat to pick out Venkatesh Iyer. The same man then accounted for captain Kohli, who misjudged a delivery when going for a slog sweep, AB de Villiers (11) and Glenn Maxwell (15) to put KKR in complete control.

Shubman Gill (29) started the chase well, but KKR hit something of a rut and were 79-3 through 11 overs when Narine came in to again turn the tide.

Three sixes from the first three legal deliveries he faced on his way to 26 set KKR on course, even if RCB forced an intriguing finish when Mohammed Siraj claimed Narine and then Dinesh Karthik (10) in the 18th over.

Seven from Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al Hasan off four balls in the final over got the job done.

 

Narine the double threat

This was a wonderful showing from Narine, further highlighting the surprising nature of his omission from the West Indies squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. His four wickets were twice as many as anyone else, while RCB only took 21 runs from his deliveries. He then gave KKR the kick up the backside that they needed with the bat, initially getting 23 runs from just nine balls.

Christian taken for a ride

The main difference between these sides on the day, and Kohli accepted as much afterwards, was the bowling. Dan Christian may have only bowled 1.4 overs, but that was an exceptionally expensive cameo, costing 29 runs, the joint-most of the RCB bowlers.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.