The 1st half of the most celebrated Cricket league in the world IPL (Indian Premier League) comes to an end. With 8 teams battling to acquire the top position and trying to settle their playing 11, we witnessed some great knocks, exceptional spells, complete team efforts and thrilling encounters. This IPL also showed us that the future of India is in right hands. Youngsters came out in full force to prove themselves and made their team win matches.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be played on March but the Covid-19 pandemic forced all the stakeholders to postpone it indefinitely. Seeing the increase in Coronavirus cases it seemed difficult that India’s very own Cricket festival would take place this year, but BCCI and IPL Governing Council, Franchises, Broadcasters and all the players made this possible just for the fans.
Although the tournament took place behind closed doors and in UAE the credit should go to all the individuals involved with this tournament. From the bus driver, hotel staff to top BCCI officials. When people were suffering from stress, tension, anxiety many personal reasons, IPL came as a relief for them. India’s own festival again brought smiles into millions of faces.
As expected, this year’s IPL gained huge digital and TV viewership. According to BAARC India, the first week of the tournament witnessed 21% growth as compared to 2019. 269 million viewers watched this season of IPL, which means 1 out of 3 TV viewers watched the live match. The opening match between MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings and Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians were watched by 150 million viewers (21% higher than 2019). The numbers speak for itself.
But now as each team has played 7 matches and we will be seeing the second phase of the tournament, let’s have a look on Teams position and their future in the tournament.
Lead by young Shreyas Iyer, Delhi Capitals is looking promising this season. Delhi Capitals are standing at number 2 in the points table with 5 wins and 2 loses. The team is lacking big names, but the youngsters have proved why T20 is considered a game of fresh blood.
Moreover Shreyas Iyer captaincy and Ricky Pointing coaching method has impressed every cricket fan. The young Shreyas with his tactics, rotation of bowlers, field settings have showed us that he is the future of India. DC stand for their never give up attitude. In their first game against KXIP they snatched away the victory from the opponent’s mouth. The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Nortje, R Ashwin , H Patil are bowling according to the situation and picking important wickets.
While Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis and Rishabh Pant are contributing with their bat. However their are two big set back for the capitals, experienced fast bowler Ishant Sharma has been ruled of injury and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant will be unavailable for 1 week.
However seeing Delhi’s position it is unlikely to haunt them. Delhi Capitals have gained the momentum and the team’s confidence is soaring high. The availability of Australian legend Ricky Pointing makes a big difference. DC will be facing RR in 13th October in Dubai. The team needs only 3 win out of seven to qualify for the playoffs.
Like always Mumbai Indians are one of strongest contender for the IPL trophy. Mumbai after loosing their first game against CSK made a strong comeback against Kolkata Knight Riders. Lead by IPL’s most successful captain Rohit Sharma, MI are in the top of the points table with 10 points.
Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Keiron Pollard, Quinton De Kock have played some exceptional innings. However what makes Mumbai Indians one of the best team of IPL is their bowling unit. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Bolt, James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar can destroy any batting line up. The team excells in every department. But we are yet to witness the greatness of Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya.
What stands with MI is retaining their core and maintaining a proper balance. Every player in their squad is a sheer away match winner. We have seen in game against RCB where everything was going wrong for MI and then arrived Ishaan Kishan and Keiron Pollard who took the game almost to the finish line. The team sticks to its basics and it’s ability to maintain composure in crunch moments make it one of the best IPL team.
The defending champion have the team and ability to lift the trophy once again.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
This is 2020 and Virat Kohli’s men are here to prove something. Royal Challengers Bangalore are one of biggest franchise in terms of fan following, but the team always disappoints its fans. However in this season of IPL things have turned around. Royal Challengers Bangalore is aiming to finally lift IPL trophy this time.
In previous year the team was wholly dependent on Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, however this year inclusion of Aaron Finch and Yung gun Devdutt Padikkal firing in the begging has helped the team a lot. The burden on Virat Kohli’s shoulder has surely been lifted.
But the biggest positive for RCB this season is their bowling line up, where the team struggled. In the game against KKR, we saw the magical spells of RCB bowlers. In Sharjah where 200 runs is just a mere thing, RCB bowlers destroyed KKR batting line up.
The likes of Navdeep Saini, Udana, Chris Morris and Siraj have solved RCB’s death bowling concern. Off spinner- leg spinner duo Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal have impressed everyone. Sundar contain the flow of runs from one end while from other Yuzi Chahal helps the team in getting important breakthroughs.
RCB have attained 10 points by winning 5 out of 7 matches. The team has full potential to turn its fortune and lift IPL 2020 trophy. If this happens, it would be the new beginning of King Kohli.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Two times IPL Champion Kolkata Knight Riders also have full potential to qualify for the last four only if they use their resources properly. Kolkata Knight Riders biggest strength is, they have two T20 greats in their sides Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell.
The side has invested a lot in their future stars like Shivam Mavi, Shubhman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh and many more. However the team till now has failed to find a proper balance. It’s great to have fluid batting line up but at cost of loosing is a big no. In all the games they have played, the management has tried to change the batting numbers instead of sticking to one plan.
A warning issued to Sunil Narine regarding his bowling action also came as a big setback for KKR. Shah Rukh Khan owned KKR have always been one of the top contenders of IPL. However their are some big concerns, the lost form of Andre Russell is something that the management needs to look as early as possible. Dinesh Kartik as captain has also been under radar due to his wrong selection. Playing only 5 bowlers including one all rounder against RCB in Sharjah proves the above statement.
However Brendon McCullum as coach, Dinesh Kartik as Captain and the firepower of Andre Russell and Eoin Morgan can help KKR to seize their third IPL trophy.
David Warner lead Sunrisers Hyderabad are now standing at number 5 position on the points table with 4 wins and 3 loses in the seven matches. The best of team has not been out in the middle till yet, however they have shown a glimpse of how lethal they can be on their day.
The key players for Sunrisers Hyderabad are David Warner, Johnny Bairstow, Rashid Khan, Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey. However after Bhuvenshwar Kumar’s injury the bowling unit needs to take responsibility specially in the death overs.
Rashid Khan has been an exceptional player for them. The Afghanistan leg spinner takes important wickets without giving too many runs. However the management and team needs to find which player can take responsibility in the lower order. Manish Pandey is not in his best of the form and the lack of experience in the lower middle order is clearly visible.
In earlier games we have seen young guns Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma winning matches for the team, but it would be interesting to see whether in big games these youngster take the team through the finishing line.
Rajasthan Royals neither performed exceptionally well nor too bad. The team took off in the first few games at Sharjah. The likes of Sanju Samson, Steve Smith showed us their temperament and their sheer talent but after that the team faced a series of continuous loss. Like every year, Sanju begins the tournament like a phenomenon but in the mid way there’s a dip in his form and the team starts to struggle.
However the biggest positive for Rajasthan Royals and IPL is Rahul Tewatia. This man has showed he is made of something else. The new age finisher has started knocking the door of the selectors. At no point of time, can the opponent take it lightly when Tewatia is on the crease. No total is big infront of Rahul Tewatia, the Haryana all rounder is a lone warrior. In 2 games he took his team across the finish line single handedly. However one man can win you matches, not the tournament.
But now RR needs to roll up their sleeves and start playing as a team unit. Each player needs to contribute in the win. Rajasthan Royals are lacking a good tear away fast bowler other than Jofra Archer however the inclusion of Ben Stokes will help the team.
Till now RR has attained 6 points with 3 wins out of 7 matches and are set to play their next match against DC in Dubai.
Chennai Super Kings
The 3 times IPL Champion Chennai Super Kings are really struggling this time. No one would have ever imagined in their wildest dream that MS Dhoni lead Chennai Super Kings will be at the second last position on the points table but it’s 2020 and everything is possible.
It seems Mahi magic is fading and everything is going wrong for Chennai Super Kings. In seven matches CSK have only won 2 matches, one against MI and the other against KXIP. Banking on experienced players seemed to have gone wrong for CSK in this season. Most of the players including the captain are either retired or semi retired. It becomes extremely difficult for a player to come out in the middle and play big innings after taking a long break from Cricket.
MS Dhoni was always known for playing a proper balanced team, but this time it’s completely opposite. CSK have played 7 matches but they have failed to find a perfect playing 11. The day when openers go strong, the middle order batsmen disappoint the fans and the day openers loose their wicket early, the middle order crumbles to the scoreboard pressure.
As said by Captain, “The ship is sailing with many holes”. Every department in this team is failing miserably. The likes of Shane Watson, MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu are unable to finish the game inspite of taking it deep. The players are lacking the self belief and confidence among themselves.
In bowling department, the fast bowlers have done their job quite well but again the spinners are failing to take wickets in the middle overs which was the actual strength of CSK. Does CSK’s loyalty towards its players costing the franchise ?
CSK are set to take on SRH today in Dubai. This is crucial match for CSK as winning this match will keep the hopes alive. CSK have done this magic in 2010, it would be interesting to see whether they are able to repeat the history again.
Kings XI Punjab
It is difficult for Kings XI Punjab to qualify in the playoffs this season. Mathematically yes, Practically no. The team has lost its confidence and the reason behind this is the management and individual performances. Two of the orange cap holders (KL Rahul and Mayank Aggarwal) are from Punjab but still the team is at the bottom of the table.
The team lacks a settled XI and moreover it seems the management and the captain lack a proper plan and are trying different possibilities and awaiting for something to click. To support the above statement, Chris Jordan has been in and out of team, the right hand medium fast bowler plays one match and misses two. The utilisation of Glenn Maxwell has also been questionable.
When Punjab began their 2020 camp high hopes were riding on young captain KL Rahul and Coach Anil Kumble’s shoulder but they let everyone down. The failing middle order resulted to extra burden on KL Rahul and Mayank Aggarwal shoulder which in order forced them to save their wickets and play long innings right till the end without worrying about the strike rate.
The worrying sign for KXIP is even after playing 58-60 balls the players are unable to take the team across the finish line. Individual performances doesn’t matter untill the team wins matches. What’s more hurting for KXIP is they have lost all the games from winning position.
Kings XI Punjab till now have only won 1 match out of 7 matches they have played. The team is at bottom of the points table and to qualify for the playoffs KL Rahul’s Kings XI Punjab needs to win all the remaining matches and attain 16 points.