With just four more days to go before the 12th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) kicks off in all its glitz and colours at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, predictions, debates and discussions on the razzmatazz cash-rich league has already begun.
Veterans of the game have already picked their favourites following their careful analysis and fans have already started cheering for their teams. And amid those comes former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir’s prediction for the top four teams in IPL 2019 who can make it to the playoffs.
Talking to Star Sports in their IPL analysis show aired on Monday afternoon (March 19), Gambhir picked four teams for the playoffs this coming season – ” Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad, KKR,” before bursting into laughter over the fact that he had almost forgotten about his beloved Kolkata Knight Riders. “How can I forget KKR!” he exclaimed. It was Gambhir who had guided the Kolkata-based franchise to two IPL victories – 2012 and 2014 and gave KKR their cherishable moments in his captaincy reign.
Did Gambhir’s choice disappoint MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli fans? While CSK had pulled off a stunning return from two-years suspension to lift their third trophy in IPL history under the leadership of Dhoni who led a team with most 30-plus aged players, Kohli – despite having a trophyless run in IPL history with RCB – still remains a strong favourite to lift the title.
Well, his opinion stood in stark contrast to what former Australian cricket duo Matthew Hayden and Mitchell Johnson picked as part of their prediction for the IPL 2019 playoffs. While Hayden picked Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and SRH, on the other hand, Johnson selected CSK, RCB, MI and Rajasthan Royals.
IPL 2019 will kick off from March 23 in Chennai where defending champions CSK will host Kohli-led RCB. So far, BCCI has announced the schedule for only the first 17 matches – until April 5 – with the remainder of the campaign to be announced shortly following a meeting between CoA and BCCI which was held on Monday (March 18) in New Delhi.