Midway (finally) through the tournament, it will be interesting to analyze and surmise on the performance- past and future- of all the teams.
A lowdown on the standings and the current scenario should be of great interest- to even the Americans who are currently celebrating a victory 10 years in the making.
Still doesn’t beat 28 years though. Ha.
With 11 points from their 9 games, they are still far from favourites for the first two spots of this league. Having played more games than anyone else so far (at a faster pace too), RR will be looking for atleast 3 wins from their remaining 5 games- just to be sure that Shane Warne will not be heading for an impromptu Wedding to Las Vegas before the knockouts.
Though one cannot help but feel- especially if you are a cynic from hell- that the one point lost to Bangalore from the rained-out game- might come back to haunt the Royals in 3D style. Uh, Oh.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
With 10 points from 8 games, KKR stand a stronger chance of making the semis- or even the top two spots. To brighten things up in SRK’s dark life, they even possess the best NRR of all the teams- hence leaving them in pole position among the ‘well-played-but-it-was-only-one-ball’ discussions among us Nostradamuses.
Their fate is in their own hands now- as it has been for 3 painfully mediocre years. Will Kallis mastermind another escape to oblivion?
Minimum of 3 wins needed from their next 6 games. Looking good.
With 12 points from 8 games, MI look favourites to top the league table for the second year in a row- unless Pollard and Symonds engage in a forkfight on the dinner table and bleed red instead.
What is slightly worrisome is the manner of their losses against weaker outfits- comprehensively outplayed like they were never leaders. The Indians could have zoomed ahead by now and played themselves out of ordinary contention- but no, things must be made interesting. For the sake of the league.
2 wins from their next 6 games should do the trick- but Sachin Tendulkar will not want to scrape through without momentum.
Chennai Super Kings:
Dhoni and co. are on a roll- just at the right time. Much like his life so far. With their collective calm in the face of many a chasing storm, Chennai have climbed up the leaderboard almost unnoticed- after being dead last just a week ago. Of course, facing Pune twice did help matters a bit.
With 10 points from 8 games, they will look to secure a knockout spot within the next 4 games- and then take a breather.
3 wins from their next 6 games should be enough, but Dhoni does not believe in playing around for the heck of it. (read Viru)
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
With 9 points from 8 games, the Challengers have zoomed back into contention- much to the displeasure of Vijay Mallya who was seen already planning out his strategy for next year. They find themselves in a similar position to the Royals, and will probably fight it out with them for a single spot into the semis.
Of course, they will need to win 4 out of their last 6 games to make a Royal fist of it. And also, reaching the semis will not be a job done- an upset or two (maybe three) after that will define their inconsistent campaign so far.
The Chargers successfully bring up the top of the rear (best of the underperformers) with a 6 point performance from 8 games. Eternal Optimists will point back to the 2009 edition where they made a late charge after being in the exact same position.
But this time, there is no Rohit Sharma or Symonds or Gilchrist. All they have is an unlucky captain who manages to mess up in crucial situations. Resting Dale Steyn will be the biggest joke of the tournament if things are not set straight quickly. (read 4 game winning streak ATLEAST)
They will 5 wins out of their last 6 games to reach the knockouts. Impossible, but not difficult.
That they even find themselves just below the Chargers is a minor miracle. With 6 points from their 9 games, they will be quite impressed with their ‘comeback’- though I doubt their fans will be impressed with the drastic plunge in standards of this once-formidable team. Officially the laughing stocks of IPL 2011 until Pune decided to do them a favour, the Daredevils will look to play for PRIDE and battle for lost honour- by not losing more than they have won so far.
Losing 3 out of their last 5 games will guarantee them bottom spot. Winning is really not an option anymore.
Kings XI Punjab:
The Kings XI will be comforted from the fact that they have half their games left- and they are still not bottom. Great expectations, you see.
6 points from 7 games does not sound so bad- but facing formidable teams starting with Mumbai (where they self-destructed)- will not make things easier for the team blessed with an unfortunate World-Cuppy schedule.
Another 5 wins from their next 7 games should do them good, but with their bowling consistently backfiring and Piyush Chawla refusing to see the light of day- one does not see how that is possible.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala:
After a winning streak that matched the very best in the league, K-0400000 were destroyed by Ishant Sharma and will probably never recover.
8 points from 9 games makes them dark horses, but having the worst NRR in the league (by far) will probably spell curtains for this once-promising and exciting debut outfit that managed to shut Wankhede up for a night.
To stand an outside chance, they will need atleast 3 wins from their last 5 games. Impossible, but not improbable.
Pune Warriors India:
From Warriors to Whipping boys, their journey under Yuvi has been that of extremes and utter defiance of logic. With a strong team on paper, nobody expected them to be below DD at any point of time- but they seemed to have taken inspiration from the Deccan Class of 2008- and are hell bent on proving that Wooden Spoons do not necessarily belong to the weakest of teams.
Let us not even get into points and games. PWI- RIP.
Gone with the wind