It is not a secret that the IPL 2020 will take place in the United Arab Emirates. History can repeat itself, and it's interesting to cast our eyes back on the previous IPL matches that took place in the UAE. In 2014, numerous matches moved to the UAE due to the elections in India.
Of course, most teams considered this factor as a disadvantage, but some took advantage of the situation and succeeded. Our research wants to examine the IPL 2014 matches to develop IPL 2020 betting angles and forecasts. Experienced bettors know that previous results are a crucial factor to consider when making successful predictions.
Like this year's edition, five games of IPL 2014 were held in three major cities of the UAE: Sharjah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. Our research has shown that this factor is a potential advantage for cricketers, rather than a drawback. The main reason lies in the distance between cities. Given the fact that the teams will live in the UAE throughout the tournament, it can be assumed that the long-distance and constant travel will not affect the players' physical training. When sports analytics considers the path to be traversed, holding the tournament in this country has significant advantages over India. For comparison, the distance between major UAE cities Dubai and Abu Dhabi equals 140 km by car, while South Asia's most extended way is 2,500 km. It's a significant difference, which should help every player and team.
Players who played in the UAE in 2014 - or who have experience of playing at these grounds with other teams or their national side - will have an advantage over players who are here for the first time. However, with humanity on the threshold of new challenges through COVID, there will be no fans allowed. Cricket without local supporters undoubtedly impacts on the players' motivation and will have consequences for many results. Teams will lose not only home-field advantage, but also passionate fan support.
The first round of matches will give us some clues on how the IPL teams are adapting to the new challenges. After the first round of matches, bettors should make their own ratings of which players and teams seemed to struggle and try and find errors in bookmaker prices for the next round of fixtures. Smart bettors should be able to recognise real favourites, rather than just blindly assuming the bookmaker has priced up the match correctly. Like the IPL teams, the gambler that can adapt to these unique circumstances the fastest will get the advantage!
One of the few factors that influence player performance is the frequency of the matches. In 2014 only 20 games were held in the UAE. From May, games returned to India and played out as usual. In 2020 teams will locate in UAE for the entire duration of the tournament. Average bettors ignore it, but for profitable betting, you should consider every factor in your calculations.
Cricketers have to be psychologically prepared because they have the challenge of being based in this new 'biosecure' environment for two months. Mumbai Indians' results from 2014 indicate that the players were not ready to play matches in another country. They lost all five of the games in the UAE - the worst record of any IPL team. They were favourites to retain their title that year and won nearly all their games back in India. The example of Mumbai should be remembered. Some teams will thrive in the UAE, but others will struggle.
The Indian Premier League in 2014 had a lot of surprises. One of them was the winners, Kolkata Knight Riders. Someone considered the appointment of a new batting coach Woorkeri Raman as a critical factor. It certainly can be used to help explain the performance of Robin Uthappa. He won the orange cap with 660 runs - nearly 100 more than the next best player.
Uthappa now plays for Rajasthan Royals, and it will be interesting to see if he the return to the UAE can help trigger his best form again.
The 2014 finalists Kings XI Punjab in 2014 also enjoyed a great season, of course, tempered by the disappointment of losing the final by three wickets. Their top player was batsman Glenn Maxwell, who hit a record 36 sixes during that season. His team won all five matches in the UAE and only lost to the Mumbai Indians away in India. A considerable part of their success was down to Maxwell's prowess with the bat. He hit 300 runs at an average of 60 per innings, and he hit the three highest individual scores in the UAE.
Maxwell has since played for other IPL teams, but he is back at Kings XI Punjab, and you would be brave to bet against Maxwell repeating his heroics from six years ago. When all his stats are considered, the Australian operated at a performance level 30% higher than other batsmen in the UAE. Betting markets to consider for Maxwell are to beat the run target the bookies set for him each match.
Six years is a long time in any sport. While the lessons of the 2014 matches in the UAE make interesting reading, we should be careful about making generalisations, particularly surrounding teams. It seems Mumbai Indians are unlikely to be as bad as they were in 2014. Not only do they have a much-changed squad now, but their management will be trying to get the players in the right mental state.
But don't forget, four-time winners Mumbai have a terrible record as defending champions in this competition, and a bad start could lead to familiar failings once again. Keep a close look at their form and don't be afraid to oppose them in the betting markets, even against seemingly inferior rivals.
Perhaps we should also look closely at Kings XI Punjab when placing our IPL bets. A team that was unbeaten six years ago here, and with many of the same players still there, deserve respect against any rivals. Will the bookmakers give them respect?
It looks unlikely. They are as big as 10.00 to win, with only Rajasthan Royals bigger outsiders. So, we may find an edge betting on the Punjabs.
Remember head-to-head records between teams from the last few seasons should be viewed carefully.
No franchise will benefit from home advantage or fans, which in theory should make each match 'fairer' and more even. Expect some close games!
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