The twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has entered its third week. The competition has already intensified, and the entertainment factor of IPL has already started peaking. With incidents of Mankading (a first in IPL), Super Overs and hat-tricks, the T20 tournament is up and going. The eight teams in the fray have also a measure of themselves as well as their opponents by now.
Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad are off to a good start and have been consistent with performances.
Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals have had their good days and bad days till now. With their shares of losses and wins, these teams will look to be more consistent as the tournament progresses.
Meanwhile, Royal Challengers Bangalore have been consistent with their losses as they have begun yet another season on a poor note, losing six in as many games, while Rajasthan have a solitary win.
Kolkata Knight Riders (W W L W W)
Out of the five matches they have played till now, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have been very impressive as a unit, winning four of them very comfortably. The only slip-up was in the Delhi Capitals match, which was decided in the Super Over. Kolkata’s run of form can be attributed to Jamaican power-hitter Andre Russell, who has been devastating with the bat.
Shubman Gill coming to bat number seven. They have a good mix of power-hitters like Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, alongside technically strong batters like Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik and Shubman Gill. No surprise Kolkata chased down 206 with five balls to spare against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
This season, till now, KKR batting has been all about Andre Russell, smacking the ball around the park and taking KKR home from hopeless situations. His strike rate of 268.83 from five matches is a testimony for it.
All these years with the mystery of Sunil Narine, KKR had one of the strongest bowling units. But with Narine’s mystery waning away, Kolkata bowling do look a little toothless. The trio of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla & Kuldeep Yadav haven’t been on the mark and have leaked some runs, which wasn’t the case in the past editions. Even the pace department also lacks steam, with the absence of big names. The pacers are also guilty of going without wickets as Kolkata have failed to dismiss even half a side till now.
The absence of a quality reserve bench is another spot of bother for KKR.
Chennai Super Kings (W W W L W)
It has been a great start for Chennai to yet another season of the IPL. After winning their first matches, Chennai had a minor hiccup against Mumbai Indians before they were back to their winning ways. The Dad’s Army, led by MS Dhoni, has looked solid in all their matches and are playing like the defending champions.
The captain has been leading from the front with the bat. He has been anchoring the batting for Chennai and is back to reprising the role of a finisher with complete impact. Apart from Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav is also hitting a purple patch with the bat for the Chennai.
As far as bowling is concerned, here too the Indian talents of Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur are going good for the defending champions.
With Indian members actively involved in the victories for the side, CSK’s future in IPL 2019 augurs well.
As such things are looking great for Dhoni and co, but Suresh Raina’s form with the bat will certainly be a cause of concern for the side, along with Ambati Rayudu’s, who hasn’t clicked at the top of the order this time around.
The absence of Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo for at least two weeks due to an injury might also end up hurting the Chennai side. Bravo has been an important cog in CSK’s wheel both with the bat and the bowl.
Kings XI Punjab (W L W W L W )
Despite a win in the first match, Kings XI Punjab grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons. With four wins and losses against Kolkata and Chennai, Punjab’s IPL 2019 has been a mixed bag with a spark of brilliance here and there. But with the win against Sunrisers, it looks like their campaign is back on track.
Apart from his on-field antics, Ashwin has been the most consistent performer for the side. The captain has been among wickets in most of the matches. Some of his tactics (read ‘Mankading’) may be questionable but Ashwin has led his side well. His captaincy might be a deciding factor at the end of the league stages of the IPL.
Mohammad Shami has been peaking at the right time. After a good run with the Indian ODI and T20 side in Australia and New Zealand, Shami carried on his form to the IPL. An Indian pacer, among wickets, is always a good asset to have in the IPL.
And KL Rahul being back among runs, with scores of 71 not out, 55 and 71 not out in his last few innings, it is good news for the Punjab side.
The overseas players are yet to fire for Kings XI Punjab.
With the kind of form Gayle was in against England in the ODIs, the Kings XI Punjab would have surely been a happy bunch. But unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to replicate it with Punjab and to make matter worse he has been bogged down by injuries.
Another foreigner, David Miller, is yet to fire along with Andrew Tye, who was one of the few success stories for Kings XI in the past.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (L W W W L L)
After a loss in their opening match of the season against KKR, Sunrisers Hyderabad have turned things around with three wins on a trot. Their wins against Rajasthan, Bangalore and Delhi Capitals were one-sided affairs, dominated by Sunrisers’ batters.
It was only in their last match against Mumbai Indians when the chinks in their armour were exposed, as they lost their second match. And now after the loss against Punjab, it looks like Sunrisers are losing the plot somewhere.
The opening duo of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow have been giving the team great starts with the bat, which have been instrumental in their victories.
Both Warner and Bairstow lead the runs table in IPL with 349 and 263 runs respectively.
If the Australian-English duo have carried the side with the bat, the Afghan pair of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi have shone with the ball.
Apart from the heroics of the overseas players, Sunrisers have nothing much to flaunt about. Such has been the impact of Warner, Bairstow and Nabi that the team has won games without much contribution from the home-grown talents.
The success of Warner and Bairstow has had its adverse effect on the rest of the batting line-up who now don’t know what to do when the opening pair fails.
The weakness in the Hyderabad batting line-up was exposed by debutant Alzarri Joseph of Mumbai Indians, who finished with 6/12, the best bowling figures in IPL history. With both Warner and Bairstow gone from May, Sunrisers will need other players to peak at the business end of IPL.
Mumbai Indians (L W L W W)
Typical start for Mumbai Indians this season too. They went down to Delhi Capitals in the opener before winning against Royal Challengers in controversial fashion. Mumbai again lost their plot against Kings XI Punjab before bouncing back again the big boys of IPL 2019 – Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Finally, the side is looking back in its elements.
If his IPL 2019 performances till now are anything to go by, it looks like Hardik Pandya has left all the controversies behind and has emerged unscathed. Hardik Pandya has been everywhere for the Mumbai Indians. Whether clobbering sixes at the death overs or getting important breaks with the ball or effecting run-outs with that extra effort on the field. Hardik has been the only consistent thing about an otherwise unpredictable Mumbai Indians.
The duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga bowling at the death will always be a matter of ‘owner’s pride and neighbour’s envy’. Adding young Alzarri Joseph to the picture, will only make matters worse for the opposition.
Keiron Pollard showing maturity with that bat and being back among runs is another bright spot for the Mumbai outfit.
Captain Rohit Sharma is yet to score big at the top for Mumbai. Their progression in the tournament depends a lot on how Rohit bats in the next few matches.
The inconsistency of the side and the batting line-up might end up hurting Mumbai’s chances, if in the end it is a close fight for the play-offs.
Delhi Capitals (W L W L L W)
New name, new team kit but fortunes continue to remain same for the Delhi franchise. After a decent start with a win against Mumbai Indians, it was in their third match of the season against Kolkata where there was sense of déjà vu for the Delhi fans. But they eventually won the match in the Super Over.
Against Kings XI Punjab, the fragility of the Delhi batting was exposed after they lost seven wickets for eight runs in 17 deliveries. Since then they have lost against Sunrisers and beat Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Delhi’s top four of Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, skipper Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant will be very crucial if Delhi wants to change their fortune in IPL 2019. All of them being Indian cricketers is another big advantage for the Delhi Capitals.
Against Kolkata it was Rabada, who single-handedly won Delhi the game in the Super Over. Rabada’s accuracy with the yorkers is something that the opposition will always be wary of.
The Delhi batting lacks experience. Except Dhawan most of them are young, including skipper Shreyas Iyer. Even Pant and Shaw need to have more matches under their belt before they earn the experience tag. The match against Kings XI Punjab was the best example of how an inexperience line-up crumbles under pressure. The whole idea of finishing a match for the side is something which the young Delhi batsmen need to understand.
Rajasthan Royals (L L L W L)
This season for the first time in the twelve years of IPL the Rajasthan Royals looked a strong unit from the very onset. With the likes of Buttler, Stokes, Steve Smith and Sanju Samson in their roster, Rajasthan were deemed to do well right from the start.
But unfortunately such hasn’t been the case as far as on-field results are concerned. After having their nose ahead in their first two matches, the Ajinkya Rahane-led side ended up losing both the matches. From there it has been a nose dive for the Men in Pink.
With one solitary win against Royal Challengers Bangalore, things are not looking up for the Royals after five matches.
The English pair of Stokes and Buttler, along with the return of Australian return of Steve Smith, the batting of Rajasthan continues to be their mainstay. Adding Sanju Samson, who scored IPL 2019’s maiden hundred, to the scheme of things, makes Rajasthan look really strong as a batting unit.
South African Jofra Archer also makes an exciting all-rounder prospect as he can contribute both with the bat and the ball.
Rajasthan also has a bunch of exciting young Indian talents like Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tripathi and Krishnappa Gowtham, who can win matches on their own on a given day.
After Buttler, Stokes and Smith leave for international duty in the month of May, the Rajasthan batting might end up looking toothless. Since that will be the time when the fight for the play-off berth will intensify, Rajasthan need to find an answer to the over-dependency on these foreigners.
Another thing which might end up spoiling Rajasthan’s chances is the absence of a genuine fast bowler at the start. Both Stokes and Archer don’t open the bowling for Rajasthan and Dhawal Kulkarni can’t be described as an ‘Express Speed Bowler’.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (L L L L L L)
It looks to be another jinxed season for Virat Kohli and his team representing Bangalore. With zero wins from six matches, not a single thing on the field has gone right for the Royal Challengers.
Right from batting failure to bowling disasters Bangalore has experienced all in the short span of six matches in IPL 2019. To make matters worse, Royal Challengers have been victim of one of the biggest and most crucial umpiring howlers of this season of the IPL.
Except the match against Mumbai Indians, Bangalore never looked in contention to win in any other matches till now.
At this moment, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers being back among runs is the only silver lining for the Royal Challengers. Only these two are capable of motivating a comeback and influence a team which has completely lost its way so early in the season.
Everything from batting to bowling looks to be a cause of concern for Virat Kohli. Bowling continues to be the Achilles heel for the side. For the past few seasons, Bangalore had a pretty ordinary bowling line-up and have repeatedly failed to defend huge scores. This season too it has been the same story as Kolkata chased down 206 at the Chinnaswamy against RCB. Yuzvendra Chahal alone can’t deliver a win for Virat Kohli and co.
. Read more on IPL by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsVoted For Raheem Sterling As PFA Player Of The Year: Van Dijk . Read more on IPL by The Quint.