The 2015 Indian Premier League season is now kicking into gear with just over two weeks remaining before the end of the league stage. In the world’s biggest domestic Twenty20 cricket competition, many of the star names are now showing their qualities as the battle for the four playoff spots intensifies.
Here’s what lies in store this weekend, when all eight teams will be in action.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Kolkata Knight Riders (Saturday, 6:30 a.m. EDT, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium)
After three successive defeats, Royal Challengers Bangalore have finally hit their stride in this IPL season. Crucial to that turnaround has been their star batting trio finding their groove, with Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers each firing big scores as Royal Challengers recorded back-to-back wins before setting a big total against Rajasthan Royals only to see the match rained off. Yet the team is still seeking their first win at home this year. They will doubtless be confident of getting it, though, against a team they beat handily in their opening match. Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders currently sit third in the standings, having recovered from two defeats to edge past Chennai Super Kings on Thursday.
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Chennai Super Kings (Saturday, 10:30 a.m. EDT, Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium)
Chennai Super Kings go into the weekend sitting top of the standings, but will be looking to bounce back from having their three-game winning streak blown by Knight Riders. To do so they’ll have to do without offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who will be absent for a second straight game with a finger injury. But the recent memory of a convincing victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad should fuel belief. The season has been up and down for Sunrisers, with their results so far dependent on the performances of opening pair David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan.
Kings XI Punjab vs. Mumbai Indians (Sunday 6:30 a.m. EDT, Punjab Cricket Association Stadium)
The bottom two teams meet on Sunday, with both badly needing a win to aid their playoff chances. Kings XI Punjab are rooted to the foot of the standings, after winning just one of their last six matches. Their most recent defeat came in chastening fashion as they went down by nine wickets to Delhi Daredevils. But one of only two wins they have recorded in the competition this year did come against their next opponents back in their second match. That was part of a run of four straight defeats to begin this year’s IPL for Mumbai, but Rohit Sharma’s men have really picked up of late to win three of their last four outings.
Rajasthan Royals vs. Delhi Daredevils (Sunday, 10:30 a.m. EDT, Brabourne Stadium)
Mumbai’s most recent victory came against Rajasthan Royals, who will now aim to get their campaign back in gear at home to Delhi Daredevils. Royals were the early pacesetters in this year’s IPL, winning their first five matches, but have been left frustrated and without a win in their five outings since. While weather prevented a result in two of those contests, they have also been well beaten by Royal Challengers and were disappointed to lose a tight battle against Mumbai on Friday. Delhi Daredevils will visit Rajasthan in confident mood after four wickets from Nathan Coulter-Nile and half-centuries by Maynak Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer helped them to a hugely dominant victory over Kings XI.
Betting odds (provided by bovada.lv)
Chennai Super Kings 3/2
Royal Challengers Bangalore 10/3
Rajasthan Royals 11/2
Kolkata Knight Riders 6/1
Delhi Daredevils 10/1
Sunrisers Hyderabad 20/1
Mumbai Indians 20/1
Kings XI Punjab 25/1
TV channel: For viewers in the United States, Dish and Mediacom will offer pay-per-view coverage, with subscriptions available through your set-top box or contacting your provider.
Live streaming info: ESPN Cricket will provide live-streaming coverage of every match via a subscription that now costs $29.99.