Mumbai Indians
Can Mumbai Indians defend their IPL title?IANS

The shortest format of the game, T20, seems to be the flavour in India at present. After the highly-entertaining World T20 came to an end earlier this month, the action shifts to the lucrative Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 2016), and the ninth edition of the competition is expected to be another mighty extravaganza, with some brilliant cricket for 50 days. 

With players such as Chris Gayle, David Miller, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Brendon McCullum among the top international cricketers, and Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh being big India names, there are plenty of things to look forward in IPL 2016.

Click here for complete squads of all eight teams

Cricket viewers around the world love to see huge scores, with flurry of fours and sixes as has been witnessed in the past editions of the IPL. Fans should not be disappointed in IPL 2016 as it comprises best batsmen from around the world.

However, the shortest format of the game has evolved in the last couple of years. Initially, it was only thought to be a batsman's game, but bowlers have also gradually understood the format, helping them become successful as well. It is this increasing balance between the bat and ball, which has made the IPL even more interesting. In some of the slower tracks in India, the spinners might rule the roost.

Though the IPL 2016 will not witness past champion teams like Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for the next two years as they have been suspended, Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants have replaced the two teams. MS Dhoni will captain Pune, and Suresh Raina will lead Gujarat.

Both the teams have some brilliant players in their respective teams, and are expected to play an important role in IPL 2016. Pune have players like Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh, while Gujarat have Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum and Dale Steyn. It would be very difficult to predict about the outcome for the two teams, but one thing is for sure that they have the required ammunition to create a storm in IPL 2016.

However, Mumbai Indians have always been a strong team in the competition, and it goes without saying that the present team led by Rohit Sharma are a team to watch out for. If players like Kieron Pollard and Rohit perform like last season, Mumbai might become the first team to win the IPL three times since the inaugural edition in 2008.

Besides the defending champions, Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have an array of stars like Kohli, Gayle and de Villiers in their team, can tear apart any bowling attack, and are from the most dangerous batting line up in IPL 2016. Though Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the competition, Kane Richardson and Adam Milne will play an important role with the ball.

RCB have always been a strong team, but it has been rather surprising that the team has failed to win a single IPL title. Will 2016 be their year? Kings XI also falls in the same bracket, without a single IPL title. They also have a decent side this season, and will be keen to win their first IPL title in 2016.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Delhi Daredevils (DD) might not have an array of stars like other teams such as RCB and Mumbai Indians, but make no mistake, KKR and DD have players who can deliver at the big stage. Kolkata will primarily depend on skipper Gautam Gambhir, Andre Russell, Morne Morkel and Colin Munro while Delhi have the services of Zaheer Khan, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock and Carlos Brathwaite.

Sunrisers Hyderabad have played in the last three edition of the IPL, but are yet to reach the finals. It would not be wrong to say that they are the dark horses of the tournament as they have some brilliant players, who have proved themselves in international cricket. Eoin Morgan, David Warner, Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan will need to shine for the Sunrisers to fight against some of the best teams in the competition. 

As always, some of the teams are extremely strong with brilliant players in their squad, but the IPL 2016 is an open tournament. It can be anybody's game despite some teams being tagged as favourites. The team, which plays consistent cricket throughout the season, will have a greater chance of winning the title.

IPL 2016 complete schedule

Day Date Time Mat. No. Matches Venue
Saturday 9.4.16 8.00 PM 1 Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiants Mumbai
Sunday 10.4.46 8.00 PM 2 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Daredevils Kolkata
Monday 11.4.16 8.00 PM 3 Kings XI Punjab vs Gujarat Lions Mohali
Tuesday 12.4.16 8.00 PM 4 Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Bengaluru
Wednesday 13.4.16 8.00 PM 5 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians Kolkata
Thursday 14.4.16 8.00 PM 6 Gujarat Lions vs Rising Pune Supergiants Rajkot
Friday 15.4.16 8.00 PM 7 Delhi Daredevils vs Kings XI Punjab Delhi
Saturday 16.4.16 4.00 PM 8 Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders Hyderabad
Saturday 16.4.16 8.00 PM 9 Mumbai Indians vs Gujarat Lions Mumbai
Sunday 17.4.16 4.00 PM 10 Kings XI Punjab vs Rising Pune Supergiants Mohali
Sunday 17.4.16 8.00 PM 11 Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils Bengaluru
Monday 18.4.16 8.00 PM 12 Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians Hyderabad
Tuesday 19.4.16 8.00 PM 13 Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders Mohali
Wednesday 20.4.16 8.00 PM 14 Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Mumbai
Thursday 21.4.16 8.00 PM 15 Gujarat Lions vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Rajkot
Friday 22.4.16 8.00 PM 16 Rising Pune Supergiants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Pune
Saturday 23.4.16 4.00 PM 17 Delhi Daredevils vs Mumbai Indians Delhi
Saturday 23.4.16 8.00 PM 18 Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kings XI Punjab Hyderabad
Sunday 24.4.16 4.00 PM 19 Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Rajkot
Sunday 24.4.16 8.00 PM 20 Rising Pune Supergiants vs Kolkata Knight Riders Pune
Monday 25.4.16 8.00 PM 21 Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians Mohali
Tuesday 26.4.16 8.00 PM 22 Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rising Pune Supergiants Hyderabad
Wednesday 27.4.16 8.00 PM 23 Delhi Daredevils vs Gujarat Lions Delhi
Thursday 28.4.16 8.00 PM 24 Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders Mumbai
Friday 29.4.16 8.00 PM 25 Rising Pune Supergiants vs Gujarat Lions Pune
Saturday 30.4.16 4.00 PM 26 Delhi Daredevils vs Kolkata Knight Riders Delhi
Saturday 30.4.16 8.00 PM 27 Sunsers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Hyderabad
Sunday 1.5.16 4.00 PM 28 Gujarat Lions vs Kings XI Punjab Rajkot
Sunday 1.5.16 8.00 PM 29 Rising Pune Supergiants vs Mumbai Indians Pune
Monday 2.5.16 8.00 PM 30 Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders Bengaluru
Tuesday 3.5.16 8.00 PM 31 Gujarat Lions vs Delhi Daredevils Rajkot
Wednesday 4.5.16 8.00 PM 32 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab Kolkata
Thursday 5.5.16 8.00 PM 33 Delhi Daredevils vs Rising Pune Supergiants Delhi
Friday 6.5.16 8.00 PM 34 Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Gujarat Lions Hyderabad
Saturday 7.5.16 4.00 PM 35 Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rising Pune Supergiants Bengaluru
Saturday 7.5.16 8.00 PM 36 Kings XI Punjab vs Delhi Daredevils Nagpur
Sunday 8.5.16 4.00 PM 37 Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Mumbai
Sunday 8.5.16 8.00 PM 38 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat Lions Kolkata
Monday 9.5.16 8.00 PM 39 Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Nagpur
Tuesday 10.5.16 8.00 PM 40 Rising Pune Supergiants vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Pune
Wednesday 11.5.16 8.00 PM 41 Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians Bengaluru
Thursday 12.5.16 8.00 PM 42 Sunrisers Hyderbad vs Delhi Daredevils Hyderabad
Friday 13.5.16 8.00 PM 43 Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab Mumbai
Saturday 14.5.16 4.00 PM 44 Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Lions Bengaluru
Saturday 14.5.16 8.00 PM 45 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rising Pune Supergiants Kolkata
Sunday 15.5.16 4.00 PM 46 Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils Mumbai
Sunday 15.5.16 8.00 PM 47 Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Nagpur
Monday 16.5.16 8.00 PM 48 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Kolkata
Tuesday 17.5.16 8.00 PM 49 Rising Pune Supergiants vs Delhi Daredevils Pune
Wednesday 18.5.16 8.00 PM 50 Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab Bengaluru
Thursday 19.5.16 8.00 PM 51 Gujarat Lions vs Kolkata Knight Riders Rajkot/Kanpur
Friday 20.5.16 8.00 PM 52 Delhi Daredevils vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Raipur
Saturday 21.5.16 4.00 PM 53 Rising Pune Supergiants vs Kings XI Punjab Pune
Saturday 21.5.16 8.00 PM 54 Gujarat Lions vs Mumbai Indians Rajkot/Kanpur
Sunday 22.5.16 4.00 PM 55 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Kolkata
Sunday 22.5.16 8.00 PM 56 Delhi Daredevils vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Raipur
Tuesday 24.5.16 8.00 PM Qualifier 1 Bengaluru
Wednesday 25.5.16 8.00 PM Eliminator Pune
Friday 27.5.16 8.00 PM Qualifier 2 Pune
Sunday 29.5.16 8.00 PM FINAL Mumbai

Worldwide TV listings: India: Sony Six, Set Max and Sony Espn. The UK: Sky Sports. The US: ESPN. Bangladesh : Set Max. Pakistan: Geo Super Canada: Sportsnet. New Zealand : Sky Sport. Middle East & North Africa: OSN Cricket. South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa: SuperSport. 

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