The Indian Premier League’s stint in the Middle East is now coming to a close after a fortnight of thrilling tournament action. While the location of the IPL may have changed for the first part of the season, the festival of dramatic, big-hitting cricket has remained the same.
The Kings of the IPL are the early pace-setters, with both Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab making admirable starts, but there are endless twists and turns still to come.
With India welcoming back its famous competition as May comes around, we take a look at the final fixtures in the Middle East building up to the IPL’s homecoming.
|Fixture||Date||Location||Time||TV Info||Live Stream|
|Rajasthan Royals vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore||Saturday, April 26||Abu Dhabi||11:30 a.m. BST||ITV 4||ITV 4 website|
|Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Kings XI Punjab||Saturday, April 26||Abu Dhabi||3:30 p.m. BST||ITV 4||ITV 4 website|
|Delhi Daredevils vs. Mumbai Indians||Sunday, April 27||Sharjah||11:30 a.m. BST||ITV 4||ITV 4 website|
|Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Chennai Super Kings||Sunday, April 27||Sharjah||3:30 p.m. BST||ITV 4||ITV 4 website|
|Kings XI Punjab vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore||Monday, April 28||Dubai||3:30 p.m. BST||ITV 4||ITV 4 website|
|Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Rajasthan Royals||Tuesday, April 29||Abu Dhabi||3:30 p.m. BST||ITV 4||ITV 4 website|
|Mumbai Indians vs. Sunrisers Hyderabad||Wednesday, April 30||Dubai||3:30 p.m. BST||ITV 4||ITV 4 website|
One of the biggest stories of the IPL so far has been Mumbai Indians’ woes on their quest to defend the title that they emphatically won last May.
Following their loss to Chennai Super Kings on Friday, John Wright’s side became the only team in the IPL without a single point on the board, having lost all three of their matches so far.
While it seems there are improvements to be made in all areas of the Mumbai Indians’ setup, captain Rohit Sharma believes that it’s the batsmen that need to up their game above all else—per CricBuzz:
“I feel our batting needs improvement, we have not scored more than 140 in any of the games (this year). The bowlers have been really good and it is the batters who have to really do well."
The ever-reliable Sharma hasn’t been himself in this season’s IPL, and he has recorded a total of just 79 runs across Mumbai’s three matches, according to ESPN Cricinfo.
If the captain can step up and live up to his reputation, then Mumbai will undoubtedly come out of their rot; and they have a fine chance to do so on Sunday against Delhi Daredevils.
Delhi took the wooden spoon in last year’s IPL and have kicked off this season in the same vein with just one win in their opening four matches.
Though their captain Kevin Pietersen has returned, having missed the opening three games with injury, Mumbai will look to strike against the vulnerable Daredevils to kick-start their campaign and record a creditable title defence.
Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the table, Kings XI Punjab are the only team with a 100 per cent record in this year’s IPL after three wins out of three in the Middle East.
The Kings’ success has largely been down to the batting brilliance of Glenn Maxwell, whose astounding stats were revealed by OptaJim:
The Australian has simply blown bowlers away every time that he’s taken to the crease, and if his form continues then so too will that of the Kings.
To make it five out of five before the competition returns to India, Punjab must find a way past Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore; and they’ll undoubtedly turn to their unstoppable Aussie to inspire them to victory.
Though the seventh instalment of the IPL has served up some remarkable cricket already, the best is yet to come.
With seven fixtures left in UAE, the IPL’s finest will be looking to go out with a bang before the tournament kicks into top gear.
Can the two sets of Kings be stopped at the top of the table? Will Mumbai Indians recover from their slump? That much remains to be seen but will the sensational cricket continue? Of course.