On Tuesday, the IPL 2021 was suspended due to an outbreak of covid-19 cases in 4 different franchises with 29 of 56 league stage matches completed.
The BCCI is eyeing the short window before or after the T20 World Cup later in the year to finish the remaining games and the season. Otherwise, as the board President, Sourav Ganguly, had said they would be facing losses up to INR 2500 crore.
Before the season was halted, it was the Delhi Capitals leading the points table, while the Sunrisers Hyderabad remained at the bottom of the table. No team is mathematically out of the tournament yet, neither has any team made a huge points difference with the rest.
IPL 2021: Rating Chances Of Each Franchise Winning The Tournament After Their Performance In First Half
Delhi Capitals – 9.5
Delhi Capitals, under new skipper Rishabh Pant have continued their form from the last season, where Shreyas Iyer took the side to their maiden IPL but lost to Mumbai Indians in the decisive game.
That the Capitals have 6 wins in 8 games without the services of Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, and R Ashwin for a few games, they are yet to play Sam Billings, Umesh Yadav, and Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada has not been at his best – indicates their powerful bench strength and the winning acumen of a comparatively young side.
Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan have provided them with ballistic starts that have helped Delhi win matches comprehensively. They have performed collectively; Delhi will resume the season as the favorites, albeit by a small margin. Other than some tactical mistakes by Pant, or an off-day for the entire team, DC looks ahead of others to clinch for their maiden title.
Chennai Super Kings- 9
It becomes difficult to choose the favorites to win the title between the next three teams – but MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings seems to have found their correct – if not perfect – batting combination and order. Moeen Ali slotting in at number 3, despite the return of Suresh Raina, has done wonders for CSK.
The all-rounder has batted with alacrity, in the powerplay and outside it not letting the momentum cease. Dhoni and Stephen Fleming’s trust in Ruturaj Gaikwad paid off as the youngster hit his straps after early failures. Dhoni continues to win games with his captaincy, while Ravindra Jadeja with his 3-D game.
However, the skipper’s batting and CSK’s bowling other than Deepak Chahar and Sam Curran still remain a concern -as proven in their loss to Mumbai Indians – but not something they would fret upon.
The 5-time champions were looking to get into their groove with consecutive victories, but the tournament had to be postponed. Their batting concerns from Chennai, where they won two matches courtesy of outstanding collective bowling performances, almost seemed to be banished in Delhi.
Runs from the bat of Quinton de Kock, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, and a couple of confidence-boosting sixes from Hardik Pandya restored their status as title favorites again. With 4 wins in 7 matches, Rohit Sharma’s side is sitting right behind the top 3. The experience in the squad of winning their last two titles has come in handy in the first half of the season.
With Hardik Pandya not fit enough to bowl the third seamer’s spot remains a concern, in addition to the lack of wickets with the new ball. Nonetheless, MI wouldn’t mind a break as it would give Hardik time to attend to his shoulder and back issues as he gears up for the T20 World Cup as well.
Royal Challengers Bangalore-7.5
With 4 wins in their first 4 games, on the exterior, it seemed RCB is the team to beat this season as Glenn Maxwell and Harshal Patel took the tournament by surprise.
A loss to CSK may have been termed as an aberration, but the hammering against Punjab Kings revealed it still had problems, not least their death bowling issues returned – Harshal Patel was rendered less effective outside Chennai, while Kyle Jamieson and Mohammed Siraj are projects in progress as far as death bowling is concerned.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar have been more defensive spinners than attacking ones; both of them have combined to pick 7 wickets so far.
Another hole which Punjab – or Harpreet Brar alone – exposed was the weak lower batting order, with no trustworthy batsman after AB de Villiers – they have had all-rounders in Washington Sundar, Daniel Christian, Kyle Jamieson, Shahbaz Ahmed at number 6 and 7 – as batting, this season revolved around 3 players, compared to two in the previous seasons.
Rajasthan Royals, under new skipper Sanju Samson, have done extremely well to bag three wins in 7 games – there could have had 4 had Samson timed his last shot against Punjab a bit better – without the services of Jofra Archer, and Ben Stokes, who played only their first game.
New recruits Chris Morris, Chetan Sakariya, and Mustafizur Rahman have brilliantly with the ball; Jos Buttler has returned to form with a splendid century against SRH; Samson himself has been more consistent and batted with responsibility.
Add to it, if both Archer and Stokes are allowed to return to when the season resumes, the Royals really stand a good chance to at least make the playoffs as they are only 2 points behind the Mumbai Indians. Their spinners remain a factor to ponder upon though.
The return of KL Rahul from injury will boost the Punjab Kings’ confidence and their chances for the playoffs a lot. The ditching of the plans of having Moises Henriques as a front-line bowler, and batting Jhye Richardson at number 7 were the signs that the side has improved in selections.
Harpreet Brar and Ravi Bishnoi have strengthened their bowling attack while the pacers need to perform better.
The team remains heavily dependent on the top three, and the choice remains between Dawid Malan and Nicholas Pooran, who has promised to come back as a better batsman on Twitter.
Kolkata Knight Riders-5.5
There is only so much a team could have done wrong with the quality of resources they have at their disposal – and the Kolkata Knight Riders seem to have done almost everything wrong in that. They have heavily underperformed, in a nutshell, in the first half of the season, and have only themselves to blame.
While their eleven used so far is less debatable, it is the stuff that Eoin Morgan and Brendon McCullum inside that eleven have done, which have gone awry. Apart from the mishandling of Andre Russell in the batting department, the batting order and the bowling changes by Morgan have been baffling, questionable, and highly debatable.
The Knight Riders still have a side good enough to win the title, but would need a massive change in fortune to do it from 2 wins in 7 games hitherto.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad would be required to win at least 6 of their remaining 7 matches to reach the 14-point mark to challenge others for a place in the playoffs. Even outside the field, their problem has been at the auction: failure of acquiring trustworthy lower-order Indian batters – not just this year but for the past three seasons.
This error by the management led to the axing of their most successful batsman and skipper, David Warner’s axing. The benefit for SRH for the tournament getting paused is that they would retain the services of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan.
However, there is no evidence that would help the side in which insecurity must have crept in other players when their best batter, Warner – and another senior international batsman in Manish Pandey – was dropped for a better team combination, as explained by Tom Moody and Trevor Bayliss.