IPL 2018: Netflix to produce eight-part series on Mumbai Indians

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The series will cover the team's 2018 campaign. Image - MI/Twitter.

Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service and Condé Nast Entertainment on Saturday announced the production of an original unscripted series on cricketing franchise the Mumbai Indians, as the team makes their bid to win the Indian Premier League for a record fourth time.

The series will bring viewers a never-before-seen look at the richest tournament in cricket-the world’s second most-watched sport-covering unseen aspects of the team, the compelling stories and characters that bind them with the vibrant city they call home.

The eight-part series will spend time with players in the 2018 season, both on and off the field, on the road and at home to go deep into the cricketing values and traditions which make the Mumbai Indians the most fascinating and followed team IPL globally, all leading up to the 2018 finals.

Mumbai Indians, led by Rohit Sharma, is the most successful IPL franchisee having won three titles (2013, 2015 & 2017) and two Champions League (2011 & 2014) trophies.

Over the years, the Mumbai-based outfit has thrown up multiple talents like Jasprit Bumrah, Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal, Ambati Rayudu and Yuzvendra Chahal who have gone to represent India at international competitions. The franchise is the most followed team in the IPL.

The defending champions did not get off to the best of starts in the IPL 2018 campaign as they suffered a one-wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings in the tournament opener on Saturday at Mumbai.

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IPL 2018: Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals feel effects of Australia ball-tampering row

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Rahane will lead Royals in the absence of Steve Smith. Image - RR/Twitter

Rajasthan Royals will make their long awaited return after a two-year suspension when they take on 2016 champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in their own den on Monday (14:30).

Both Sunrisers and Royals are feeling the repercussions of the Australia ball-tampering episode after losing the services of David Warner and Steve Smith respectively, both of whom were designated two lead their sides.

In the absence of the two Aussie crowd favourites, Ajinkya Rahane has been appointed as the skipper of the Royals while Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson has taken the reins at Hyderabad.

TALKING POINTS

Warner’s loss cannot be understated for the Sunrisers. The left-hander is the most successful overseas international in the history of the IPL and the outfit will hope that Williamson can fill in those big boots with their batting looking a little thin.

They will however, bank on having one of the best looking bowling attacks on paper with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Afghan leg-spin prodigy Rashid Khan in their ranks.

On the other hand, Royals have vast riches in their overseas department to cope with the loss of Smith. With the likes of D’Arcy Short, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes at their disposal, the 2008 winners will fancy themselves against any opponent if those four can get firing.

Where they do lack though, is in their domestic ranks where they have no big names apart from Ajinkya Rahane.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

After making his return recently to international cricket after an indefinite suspension, Stokes will be itching to remind the world once again of his outrageous talents and there’s no better place than the IPL to do that.

One the other hand, Rahul Tripathi impressed one and all in the IPL for Rising Pune Super Giant last year with some eye-catching displays and he could be a wild card for the Royals batting line-up this year at the top.

Another man who could cause damage is Smith’s replacement – Heinrich Klaasen, who gave a great account of himself when India toured South Africa. The wicket-keeper batsman has the weapons to unsettle any spinner and could be a handful on Indian tracks.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (C), Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Sidharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma.

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (C), Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Jos Buttler, Stuart Binny, K Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat.

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IPL 2018 preview: India Under-19 World Cup stars in the spotlight as Kolkata Knight Riders play Royal Challengers Bangalore

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Kolkata have three of India's Under-19 World Cup winning stars. Image: KKR/Twitter.

Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to put their disastrous 2017 campaign behind them when they travel to Kolkata to play the Knight Riders in their tournament opener on Sunday (18:30).

Virat Kohli has taken regular breaks over the past few months to keep himself operating at optimum level and the Bangalore captain said he has almost reached that level at the start of this edition of the IPL.

The Knight Riders are making a fresh start under the leadership of Dinesh Karthik after severing ties with the long serving Gautam Gambhir.

TALKING POINTS

Kolkata are without fast bowler Mitchell Starc but have decent cover in the pace bowling department. England’s Tom Curran, West Indies’ Andre Russell and even India Under-19 World Cup heroes Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivami Mavi are capable of carrying the workload. On the batting front, the form and fitness of destructive opening batsman Chris Lynn will determine how far Kolkata go in the tournament.

Bangalore have the luxury of Kohli and AB de Villiers in the form of their lives. There is every chance of repeating the feats of 2016 where Kohli made 973 runs and AB 687. However, pace bowling is not their strongest suit. The Royal Challengers will rely on the wily spin of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

The Knight Riders picked the cream of India’s Under-19 World Cup winning team. Top order batsman Shubman Gill and fast bowlers Nagarkoti and Mavi will be raring to have a go at a stage bigger and more challenging than the U19 World Cup. It is unlikely Kolkata will go in with all three right at the start of the tournament but expect two to be part of the mix. The fast bowlers especially will be under scrutiny as one will know whether they have it in them to stand up to the big boys.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik (c), Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Tom Curran, Kuldeep Yadav, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Quinton de Kock, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar, Tim Southee, Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal

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