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IPL report card


IPL Table – Where each team stands

1.    Delhi Daredevils (10 pts from 7 matches) have probably the most unbalanced side of the league. An extremely strong batting line-up, filled with smart batsmen to go with an average bowling line-up. That is exactly why they have surprised everyone by beating Mumbai the way they did. After a really disappointing last season, DD have lost only two games and even those were closely fought.

Clearly, the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Mahela Jayawardene have made a difference. However, the performances of young Shahbad Nadeem and Irfan Pathan shouldn’t be forgotten. With David Warner set to come back, the line up gets even more daunting.

Prediction: In this long league stage where each team will play 16 games each, 9 wins should be adequate to get most sides through to the top 4. So, the Daredevils need to win at least 4 of the remaining 9 matches. With the batting line-up that they have, they should easily get through to the semis.

2.    Kolkata Knight Riders (9 pts from 8 matches) is one team that has always underperformed and it continues to do so in this year’s IPL. Not being able to chase 134 against Kings XI is just an example of this.

Kolkata may have an average bowling line-up, but the likes of Balaji, Shakib Al-Hasan and Iqbal Abdullah are very useful on the slow pitches of Eden Garden. With a good net run rate, Gambhir’s side has managed to stay in the 2nd spot.

Prediction: In spite of a determined leader, KKR have serious issues in finishing a game off. Hence, they are expected to mess up the odd game then and now. So, Kolkata might just end up fighting for the spot in the top 4.

3.    Chennai Super Kings (9 pts from 8 matches) were the favourites before the tournament started for most bookies and rightly so. If there is one team who can win from unbelievable positions, it certainly is CSK and they have proved this time and again.

So far, Faf Du Plessis has really been the only consistent performer with three 50’s. Firepower in the batting and a good record at home always makes it impossible to rule them out. As the tournament goes on, CSK will only get better like they always have.

Prediction: CSK will definitely make it to the top 4 and I reckon they will be one of the finalists for sure.

4.    Royal Challengers Bangalore (9 pts from 8 matches) have started just the way they did last year. In 2011, RCB had a streak of WLLLDWW in their first 8 matches. This season, they have done WLLLWWWX.

Foreign players Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers have been instrumental for them but Virat Kohli hasn’t looked in the form that he was for India. However, the main problem remains their bowling. Their 5th bowler has cost them matches and that needs to be fixed.

With Zaheer Khan being their only consistent bowler, RCB have had to rely on bowlers like Raju Bhatkal and even Virat Kohli. On the other hand, Muttiah Muralidharan has been on the bench for most of the matches. Skipper Daniel Vettori has been just average and replacing him with Murali could make things interesting.

Prediction: With their shaky bowling, RCB will have to depend heavily on their batting, just like the Daredevils. So, they will be in competition with KKR and RR for the knockout stage!

5.    Rajasthan Royals (8 pts from 8 matches) are yet another team that no one really fancied at the beginning. In spite of a limited buying cap of $5.4m, RR management picked up some really smart players like Owais Shah, Brad Hodge and Kevon Cooper. But the real driving force this season has been Ajinkya Rahane and the consistency with which he has scored.

Overall, RR has a mediocre line-up which has been performing to the best of their potential. Hence, RR find themselves in a reasonably good position and the return of Shane Watson will help immensely.

Prediction: RR has always been difficult to beat at home and hence they need to win at least 3 of their remaining 4 home games to ensure a SF berth. However, with teams packaged together in the middle of the table, RR might just miss out on the SF berth.

6.    Pune Warriors India (8 pts from 8 games) is a very decent line-up in spite of the absence of Yuvraj Singh and Mitchell Marsh. Unlike the Knight Riders, PWI look a side which tends to be usually on the better side of close encounters. Credit must go to Jesse Ryder and Steven Smith, who have played a couple of good knocks each to turn the tide.

Two more players who will be crucial to their progress will Alfonso Thomas, the very useful all-rounder and Murali Kartik, who has already picked up crucial wickets. Add to this the calmness of Angelo Mathews and blitz of Robin Uthappa, you get a really competitive side.

Prediction: With most players looking in decent form and Dada at the helm, PWI will look to regain the momentum and make a late charge for the top 4.

7.    Mumbai Indians (8 pts from 7 matches) is one of the most expensive teams in the IPL, yet they aren’t quite delivering as well as they can. With injuries to Sachin Tendulkar and the arguably most valuable IPL bowler, Lasith Malinga, MI don’t look the same team.

There have been no consistent performers from this team so far. Even the ever reliable Pragyan Ojha hasn’t been quite at his best. Harbhajan has struggled and Rohit Sharma, despite two fifties, has looked uncertain as well. In fact, even their fielding has looked below par in spite of the presence of a certain Jonty Rhodes.

Prediction: Without Malinga being fully fit, MI will struggle to make the cut. Unless something inspirational happens, you can safely count MI out.

8.    Kings XI Punjab (6 pts from 8 matches) started slow and have played to the level that most people expected them to. KXIP are an average team, much like RR, however while RR have made the most of their resources, KXIP haven’t.

If not for the last two wins under David Hussey, KXIP would be out of the race. However, the last few games have given them hope and so has the addition of an excellent T20 player in Azhar Mahmood. They have fought well and with some luck could have had more wins.

The batting depends way too much on Shaun Marsh and that is never a good sign. To make matters worse, Praveen Kumar has managed to pick up just 2 wickets so far. Though David Hussey’s return to form and Awana’s impressive start are a few positives.

Prediction: They will definitely end up in the bottom 3 of the table at the end of the league stage. Expecting a turn-around from here is being a little too optimistic.

9.    Deccan Chargers (1 pts from 6 matches) have been unbelievably poor this season. The boys from Hyderabad definitely are NOT the weakest line-up in the league, yet somehow things haven’t worked out. With decent players like Kumara Sangakkara, Dale Steyn, Daniel Christian and Shikhar Dhawan, many expected a lot more out of this side.

But barring Shikhar in batting and Steyn in bowling, no one else has performed up to the mark. They ran a few teams close but just weren’t able to close the match and this lack of killer instinct is a big worry and will haunt them.

Prediction: Having lost games from positions no one would imagine, there definitely is no coming back. All they can do is to try to upset the chances of other teams like RR or RCB.

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