IPL 2020: From CSK's horror to DC's stellar, a brief review of the teams mid-way
Chennai Super Kings are off to a horror start in the Indian Premier League this season, as they have lost five of their matches in the opening seven games. Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals are off to a fine start, having lost just two games so far, as they are in pursuit of their maiden title.
The 13th edition of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) has lived up to the expectations, despite being played under unusual circumstances. From thrilling matches to shocking performances, the tournament has not failed to amuse us so far.
Meanwhile, the near two-month tournament is already halfway through with its league stage, as we enter the second half. However, before we get there, let us analyse how the eight teams have fared so far.
Mumbai Indians (MI): The defending champions are off to a fine start, as they have lost just a couple of games and won five, as they stay atop the table. While they have a balanced squad, who have excelled in all departments, the one thing that they would be pondering upon is their batting. Although it is Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya who have performed so far, the top-order needs to be more flexible, along with the initial half of the middle-order. Maybe, promoting Pollard and Pandya up the other could help.
Delhi Capitals (DC): One fo the three teams who are yet in the hunt for their maiden IPL title, DC have come up with a phenomenal show so far, shining in all departments, especially with their bowling. The spinners have conceded at a rate of 6.34 runs per over. Furthermore, the pitches are becoming sluggish, as they could contemplate playing more spinners in the coming days. While Amit Mishra being ruled out is a setback, Sandeep Lamichhane can be utilised here.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): The second team to have not won the title yet, RCB have shown great composure this season, as they are third in the table. Their bowling has been phenomenal of late, while their batting too has been stable. Although their batting does not need a change as of now, with Aaron Finch, Devdutt Padikkal and AB de Villiers firing, they can certainly tweak their bowling. They can get rid of Isuru Udana, who tends to be expensive occasionally and bring in spinner Adam Zampa on the tracks that are likely to get slower.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): The former champions might be in the fourth spot for now. However, it is clear that it mostly because of luck, rather than their performance. As of now, the side looks bowling heavy, especially with the immense possession of youth talents like Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy and many more. As for their batting, besides Shubman Gill and Eoin Morgan, barely anyone has fired. Also, with Sunil Narine being reported for suspect action, things are shaky. Nonetheless, it is their batting they need to work upon, as they need a stable line-up.
Rajasthan Royals (RR): The 2008 champions have had a mixed performance so far. Although they are evenly balanced in all departments, it is their batting, especially the openers, that they need to work upon. Also, they need to stop over-relying on Steve Smith, Jos Buttler and Rahul Tewatia on all occasions. Meanwhile, they need to utilise all-rounder Ben Stokes in a viable manner and sort out his batting position soon.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH): The 2016 champions, too, have not had the best start yet. While skipper David Warner is trying to get into the groove, Jonny Bairstow is also along the same lines. Nonetheless, they have stable middle-order. As for their bowling, it is an area of worry, especially with an inexperienced fifth bowler in the side. Meanwhile, with seamer Bhvneshwar Kumar injured, Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi can bring stability.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK): The former three-time champions are off to a horror start, as they sit in the seventh spot, winning just a couple of games so far. While they can take inspiration from a similar situation in 2010 when they won their maiden title, their middle-order is completely messed up. Also, they have issues with having a designated finisher, as skipper MS Dhoni has been unable to perform the duties. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja can be handed the duties, but he too has been inconsistent. Promoting him, along with Sam Curran, up the order could prove to be conducive.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP): The third team to have never won the title yet, and it is of no surprise that they are at the rock bottom of the table. Having already used 18 players so far, they are yet to get the right combination. Plus, KL Rahul's inexperience on captaincy front has made things even difficult for them. With problems on all front, KXIP could try bringing in Chris Gayle and check if he fires with the bat. As for the bowling, they should rely on Indian spinners, along with Afghanistan's Mujeeb Ur Rahman, with the pitches slowing down.