So, the IPL is officially at the halfway stage. Like always, I didn’t even realise how quick the tournament has gone by, and it’s reached the business end already. So let’s do analysis of the points table as it stands right now, and predict what it could end up looking like!
To make the breakdown easy, I want to classify the table into 4 groups.
Group A has 3 teams – Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. These are the three teams who have completely owned this IPL. They have dominated everyone else. And I feel that it is because of them, that this year’s IPL may become extremely boring toward the end. They have effectively taken away the Top 3 spots from the other teams, and have left them competing for the 4th spot. I think it wouldn’t be silly to say that we already have our final Top 3 for this year.
May I just add that in my pre-season predictions, I had predicted THIS EXACT TOP 3 IN THE SAME ORDER. Thanks for the offer Cricbuzz, but I already have invitations from Star Sports and Cricinfo so let me think about it and get back to you on that!
Group B contains only the Kolkata Knight Riders. Just like the other teams, I believe they are also out of the race for the Top 3 now. But they do have an edge for the 4th place. They have 4 wins this season, while their closest competitors have 3. So they do have a little bit of a headstart in the race. But I still feel that they won’t make it to the playoffs. That’s because their victories have all come from the jaws of defeat. In their games against CSK and KXIP (incidentally, the two worst teams in this IPL), any other opponent would have easily beat them. But those teams choked, and KKR were handed an unmerited win.
Furthermore they are facing a lot of squad problems what with their ace Sunil Narine being reported for an illegal bowling action, and star player Dre Russ having injury issues. They haven’t found their perfect playing XI either, and a player like Rahul Tripathi, even after playing 2 gamechanging knocks for them was demoted to No.7 in the previous game. So I’m willing to take some bad odds here, and bet against KKR reaching the playoffs.
Group C is the reason why this IPL has the element of interest in it. It has Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad. They have had very different paths, but ultimately both of them have ended up at the same place. They have won only 3 out of their 7 games. But even though their points are equal, their chances of reaching the playoffs aren’t exactly the same.
SRH has an undeniable edge over RR right now. And that is because of their Net Run Rate. Barring the Top 2 teams, they are the only team in this IPL to have a positive Net Run Rate. When points are equal, NRR is used to differentiate between the teams. Looking at the results so far, there is a high chance that SRH and RR, and maybe even KKR, end up with the same no. of points (probably 14). In that case, SRH would most likely be the team to go ahead until and unless they lose any games by a gargantuan margin in the upcoming games.
And that is why effectively, SRH only needs to win 4 games to have a shot at the playoffs while RR needs to win 5. It hurts to say this as a Royals fan, but we may already be out for this season.
If I’m feeling bad as a Royals fan, I can only imagine the plight of Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab fans. Yeah, these 2 teams are definitely out of the tournament. I mean, CSK might still have an outside chance if they really step up their game, but KXIP aren’t coming back from this mess. They need to win all their remaining games to secure a spot in the playoffs! And CSK can afford to lose just one. The only way either of these teams has a chance is if SRH really loses the plot in the latter half, and so does KKR. Then they can hope to end at 14 points, and go through based on NRR. But yeah, it’s a long shot.
My Prediction For The Points Table