Nearly two months of non-stop cricketing action will entertain fans around the globe as the very best from India, and some of the biggest overseas stars, take centre stage.
Here, we look at how 2016 champions Sunrisers Hyderabad are shaping up for the tournament.
David Warner (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Shreevats Goswami (WK), Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Abdul Samad, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mitchell Marsh, Abhishek Sharma, Bavanaka Sandeep, Sanjay Yadav, Fabian Allen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi.
CAPTAIN DAVID WARNER
The man who led the Sunrisers to their maiden IPL title in 2016 has been handed the reins once again. Warners captaincy style is very much about leading from the front and there is no batsman who has dominated the competition quite like him.
To put his brilliance in the IPL into perspective, 48 of the southpaws 126 innings have ended in a score above 50. His 4,706 runs in the competition is the most by any overseas batsman, while he has also finished as the top run-scorer in three separate editions.
Among batsmen with a minimum of 600 runs in the IPL, no one has an average higher than Warners 43.17.
The IPL has opened its arms to Australias dashing opener and he has repaid that favour by lighting up the competition with his batting fireworks. Hyderabad will look to bank on the Australians supreme consistency as they bid for a second IPL title.
The left-hander comes into the tournament on the back of a lean limited-overs tour of England, though the familiar comforts of the IPL should see him return to his very best soon.
Expectations will once again be high for a side which has advanced to the play-offs for the last four years. Their greatest asset lies in the opening department where Warner and the in-form Jonny Bairstow form one of the most-lethal pairings in the competition.
Such are the overseas riches at Hyderabads disposal that New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson faces the prospect of missing out on the playing XI. Williamsons presence can provide some solidity to the SRH middle-order which has been their soft underbelly in recent editions.
Should Williamson miss out on the playing XI, then the responsibility of shoring up that fragile middle-order will primarily rest on the shoulders of Manish Pandey. Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma are two young talents who can provide a spark with the bat, though it might be asking them too much to be consistent performers as rookies.
The top-heavy batting order works out for the Sunrisers more often than not, partly the strength of their bowling unit. The bowling attack is as complete as they come in the IPL, despite the absence of Shakib Al Hasan this time round.
Afghanistan spin duo of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi will be licking their lips at the prospect of bowling on UAE wickets, and both the stalwarts can also chip in with some handy runs down the order. Meanwhile, Indias Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead a formidable pace attack which also includes Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed and Sandeep Sharma.
With Shahbaz Nadeem as an excellent back up to the two main spinners, Hyderabad definitely have the artillery to contain opposition batting line ups. It is what they did with regular consistency in the previous edition and the slow pitches of the UAE should only embolden their hopes of performing an encore.
Another play-off qualification will be a minimum for Hyderabad in the upcoming edition, although the lack of a middle-order lynchpin has the potential to scupper their chances.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Domestic Bhuvneshwar Kumar
It has not been a fruitful last year or so at the international level for Bhuvneshwar, with back niggles and injuries ensuring that he hasnt had a consistent run of games. Incidentally, it was the 2018 IPL which exacerbated the seamers injury troubles and he has since fallen down the pecking order for India.
The 2020 IPL could very well be Bhuvneshwars chance to reignite his India career, especially with two T20I World Cups to come in a short span. He was a monster for Hyderabad in 2016 and 2017, picking up a total of 49 wickets across the two editions. The last two seasons have been a relatively lean one by his high standards and he will be eager to replicate his former glories.
There might not be a lot of help for pacers in the UAE, but Bhuvneshwars impeccable lines and lengths should make him a difficult proposition in any conditions. The 30-year-old is the ideal man to spearhead a bowling attack with no major weakness.
Overseas Rashid Khan
If Bhuvneshwar is the mainstay of the pace department, then it is Rashid Khan who performs a similar role with his leg-spin. The Afghanistan star has been nothing short of sensational for SRH since being picked up the franchise in 2017; 55 wickets in three editions, while maintaining an economy-rate of just 6.55, is testimony to Rashids genius.
There is arguably no better spinner in the T20 format than the Afghan, who has all the variations in the book. Very rarely does the leggie have an off-day with the ball and he is a sure shot guarantee for wickets.
The slower nature of the UAE tracks will be music to the ears of Rashid and Sunrisers can be sure of four extremely productive overs of his leg-spin. Of late, he is also developing into a useful batsman down the order and he is certainly capable of landing some lusty blows with the bat.
Youngster Abhishek Sharma
One youngster who could provide the cure to Hyderabads middle-order vulnerabilities is Abhishek Sharma. An ICC U19 World Cup winner with India in 2018, Sharma made quite the bang on his IPL debut in the same year.
A rapid 46 off just 19 deliveries for Delhi Capitals saw him announce his introduction in style, although he hasnt really had the chance to repeat those exploits. The left-hander made just three appearances in the most recent edition, but is in line to get a bigger role for the upcoming tournament.
The hard-hitting lower-order batsman also brings with him the ability to bowl some left-arm orthodox spin. These all-round qualities will be greatly appreciated by Hyderabad on the UAE pitches and it could turn out to be a big season for Sharmas development.
While inconsistency will be expected from a young cricketer, he has the opportunity to establish himself as a future mainstay.
Predicted XI: David Warner (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Priyam Garg, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed.
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