The highly anticipated Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season is right around the corner, with fans eagerly looking forward to some exciting cricket action.
While the favorite heavyweight teams will likely grab most of the attention as usual, the underdog squads bring an added element of surprise and excitement. Their sheer grit in the face of adversity makes them easy to root for.
Let’s see why underdogs enthrall viewers and which unheralded teams could stun stronger opponents this IPL season.
Why Underdogs Matter To Some Sports Followers
Underdogs hold a special appeal for sports fans as the eternal Davids fighting formidable Goliaths. Their position as rank outsiders chasing glory makes viewers inherently root for them. In general, we cheer for the underdogs because their victories can feel like our own.
But these underdogs must strategize creatively and punch above their weight despite having limited resources. That’s mostly why we find their victories captivating.
Now, the IPL has never been short of such underdog moments, the most famous being Rajasthan Royals’ inaugural triumph. They were the underdogs that season and with their legendary captain Shane Warne, they were able to claim the title.
So, who knows? The 2024 edition could unveil more surprise success stories similar to that one.
A Look at This Year’s Franchise Underdogs
So, which teams aren’t exactly the favorites to win this season but may likely emerge as tough competitors? Let’s have a look at them:
Lucknow Super Giant (LSG):
As only the second-youngest IPL franchise, LSG took the cricketing world by storm during their first season. For IPL 2024, they have added firepower in the form of New Zealand all-rounder Rachin Ravindra. They also have appointed a new coach, Justin Langer.
LSG will seem to continue to work with advanced analytics to formulate winning tactics to outsmart opponents. As a team backed by the statistics and these game-changing players, they might be able to pull off a better performance this year.
Punjab Kings (PBKS)
PBKS have often shown tremendous potential but failed to sustain consistency over seasons. They’ve got quite a powerhouse this year including the names of Mandeep Singh, and their captain, Shikhar Dhawan.
Delhi Capitals (DC)
Despite having reached the playoffs consistently, DC is still searching for their maiden IPL crown. New captain Rishabh Pant will aim to improve that record with a balanced squad mixing veterans like David Warner and rookie Yash Dhull.
But DC could look towards recruits like Harry Brook as a potential match-winner. His unorthodox action and mastery over varying his pace can outfox batters. If he acclimatizes quickly, he might lead DC’s charge with the ball in hand.
Key Players to Watch Out For
Now, let’s spotlight some key players who could turn the tide for their teams and make a big impact in the 2024 IPL season.
Mitchell Starc: The formidable left-arm Aussie pacer Mitchell Starc can run through any batting order with his deadly inswinging yorkers and late outswing. KKR will have to hope that their record-breaking purchase of Starc gives them the edge. Well, given his recent success, Starc has some of the best odds to be the top wicket-taker in IPL 2024 matches.
Rachin Ravindra: Young New Zealand all-rounder Rachin Ravindra announced himself on the world stage recently with mature performances. CSK will benefit greatly from his skillful left-arm spin and adaptable batting style. Ravindra’s odds are also favoring him to become a top all-rounder this IPL season.
Gerald Coetzee: This rising South African consistently clocks 145 mph speeds and seams the ball away sharply. Mumbai Indians have snapped up the young talent and his wicket-taking ability could prove decisive. Being new to the IPL, the bookmakers are watching his performances closely to set accurate 2024 IPL match odds for his team.
Sameer Rizvi: The 20-year-old Uttar Pradesh batsman smashed the fastest century in the state T20 league last season. CSK has invested heavily in him, as he was purchased for INR 8.4 crores.
Arshin Kulkarni: The talented young all-rounder from Maharashtra has shown potential both with bat and ball. LSG has secured his services for just INR 20 lakhs after his impressive domestic performances. Kulkarni’s versatility makes him an interesting dark horse in terms of 2024 player performance odds.
So, teams like LSG, PBKS, and DC might embrace their underdog status to deliver upsets at IPL 2024. Their emergence from the shadows would unsettle pre-tournament predictions and inject excitement among fans.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual viewer, it will simply be interesting to see how these teams will perform this season. Who knows? The underdogs might just steal the show.
Be sure to follow the action starting March 22, 2024, on Star Sports and streaming platforms like Disney+Hotstar and JioCinema.
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