So, 40 games have gone by and only 32 remain. This by far has been the most closely fought IPL yet. Although Delhi Daredevils are leading the pack, you never know what will happen after the four teams enter the playoffs. Almost all team other than the seemingly ruthless Deccan have chances of making it into the Top-4. So, the renaming 32 games are going to be very crucial. Now, do you want to know who those four teams are going to be?
Let us power rank each team based on their current form.
# 1 – Delhi Daredevils
Won – 7 | Lost – 2| Table Position – 1
Quite obvious and truthfully well deserved. Last season, it was quite disastrous for the Daredevils. They played 14 games and managed to win only 4. They had no one to speak off other than David Warner and Morne Morkel and all other foreign players were mediocre. This time though, Delhi were very particular about what they wanted.
They brought off specialized pinch hitters like Ross Taylor and Kevin Pietersen. To mix it up, they bagged in the experienced Mahela Jayawardana from Kochi. They paid heavily to obtain the services of all-rounder Irfan Pathan. They still held on to Naman Ojha who is a decent cricketer. More than anything, Virender Sehwag started firing off and there are only a few teams who could stand up against that. Sehwag has 372 runs from 9 innings and he is a leading contender for the orange cap.
If all goes, Delhi will make it up to the playoffs as table toppers. But, all of it would go waste if they don’t capitalize at the playoffs.
Strengths – The Batting Lineup which looks threatening even without the in form David Warner.
Weaknesses – None so far. But, if Morkel has a bad day, there is no one else to save Delhi’s bowling. Agarkar and Pathan aren’t good enough to lead a bowling line up.
# 2 – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Won – 4 | Lost – 4 | Table Position – 5
Yes, their table position does not reflect their power ranking. But, if I had to pick a winner before IPL 5 started, RCB would have been my choice. They have all their players available, they have the star power, the have the Indian contingent and they have Chris Gayle.
Virat Kohli came to IPL after having a fantastic tour at Australian and an unimaginable Asia Cup but he hasn’t fire for RCB so far. With 147 runs in 9 games at a mere average of around 18, that is not what you expect from Kohli. However, their foreign hitters including Gayle, de Villiers and Dilshan have been doing good all averaging above 40.
The problem they have is with Dan Vettori. He is the captain and he has to play but that forces Muttaih Muralitharan to the bench. Murli has 8 wickets in 4 games while Vettori has 5 in 8. Naturally, on a hot Indian track, you should always go with Murli. If RCB can somehow work around that, they surely will make it to the playoffs.
Strengths – The Squad. They have round about 15 world class players and it is a shame that they have lost 4 games with this line up.
Weaknesses – Too dependent on Gayle. Youngsters like Agarwal and Tiwary are capable but have too much stage fright.
# 3 – Kolkata Knight Riders
Won – 5 | Lost – 3 | Table Position – 2
It is about time that KKR did something in the IPL and finally, it is happening. Normally, you wouldn’t expect Gautam Gambhir to be the angry young man but that is what he is doing with KKR. He is leading the team like a true leader and his knock of 93 yesterday was a true attestation to that fact.
But more than that, it is the bowling that is helping KKR a lot. All their bowlers have an economy rate of under 7.5 and that is a brilliant figure in T20 cricket. Sunil Narine has been wonderful and so has been others like Lee and Bhatia.
KKR still haven’t figured out how to use their foreign resources. ten Doeschate and Shakib al Hassan have layed only 3 matches so far and it is a crime to keep them on the bench. They are world class all rounders and they deserve playing time.
Strengths – Quite literally, they have no particular strength whatsoever. Some one performs well one night and they win the game for KKR. However, the leadership of Gambhir has to be applauded.
Weaknesses – McCullum scored that 150 on the very first day of the very first IPL. Come out of that and see the players you are benching. Shakib al Hassan is the world’s best all rounder at the moment and he doesn’t deserve to be benched. KKR can easily make it to the playoffs if they realize it.
# 4 – Chennai Super Kings
Won – 4 | Lost – 4 | Table Position – 4
Chennai are four on our list and occupy the same position in the table as well. The main reason why they are so behind is simple. The Indians haven’t fired yet. Last season it was the mammoth Murli Vijay and the season before it was Suresh Raina. Now, both these players have gone dead silent.
Yes, Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo are doing a great job but it isn’t enough on most occasions. Badrinath is too slow for T20 cricket and Jadeja is massively over-rated. May be if CSK decide to open their batting with Jadeja, it could work. Else, they could give one more chance for Murli Vijay. Opening with Badrinath is a colossal disaster.
Doug Bollinger who was vital to CSK’s success has been struggling this season. He has an economy rate of over 8.5 and that is just not right. Ashwin and Kulasekara are doing their best but they are not picking up enough wickets.
Strengths – The desire to win and the Captain who knows how to do it is the biggest strength that CSK has. They might not have the players but they always do win when it matters.
Weaknesses – The absence of Mike Hussey has hurt them so bad. du Plessis is fantastic but he is no Mike Hussey. However, Hussey opening with du Plessis could be a frightening sight for many opponents. Other than this, Ashwin is their only armor in the bowling department. So, they have to do something about it as well.
# 5 – Pune Warriors India
Won – 4 | Lost – 5 | Table Position – 7
It was a tough fight between Mumbai Indians and Pune for this last spot on our list. But, Pune made it because they were a better team who were not dependent on a single player.
Let us face it, if Malinga gets injured Mumbai are doomed. Other than Malinga and over-rated Pollard, they don’t have anyone else. Pune on the other hand have quality players and they have Aussie Captain Michael Clarke who will be joining them shortly.
Pune’s batting depends heavily on their openers – Uthappa and Ryder who have had good tournaments so far. Ganguly who is seriously not fit and lacking match practice still makes some 30 odd runs and that is appreciable. Steven Smith has been fantastic for the Warriors with a run rate close to 160. Young players like Manhas and Pandey are also doing good.All rounder Angelo Matthews is also having a decent tournament.
Strengths – None in particular. But the fact that they gel well as a team is something very promising. They are all under the control of Ganguly and it will be interesting to see if a change in paradigm will occur once Clarke arrives.
Weaknesses – The bowling however is their worry. Other than an injured Dinda and ever-so-generous Nehra, they have no one else to speak off.