20 days into the Indian Premier League, we have seen enough of each team’s strengths and weaknesses to be able to gain a clear perspective on things to come. It has been a stern test between bat and ball for most matches (not involving Deccan Chargers), and there have been the maximum amount of last-ball wins already- and there’s still half the season left. Some bowling-friendly pitches have made teams really earn their points- let us take a look at contenders and the backmarkers of IPL 2012:
Back From Hell
The Wooden Spooners of 2011 are now clear favorites for the 2012 season. Every joke made on them throughout the 2011 season seems to have gotten to their heads- thankfully. Virender Sehwag has found the balance he was looking for, even without his big-hitting partner David Warner.
Manvinder Bisla, the wicketkeeper with a madmax reputation, has learned to pace his innings a bit more- and not try to hit every single ball into the skies. That is a start, and is serving his team well.
Brendon McCullum, who has played only 4 games this season, has failed in all of them at the top of the order. To add to that, he is not even a wicketkeeper in this team.
Jesse Ryder, the man who can’t run to save his life, is relying solely on his big-hitting abilities to steer Pune out of their batting woes. He is succeeding, and how.
Ashok Dinda, currently out on injury, is the fast-bowling spark Pune needed this season. He is delivering good results with his pole-vaulting action.
Steve Smith, a finisher par excellence, is making up the miles on a team that isn’t a big fan of running between the wickets, or even on the field.
Piyush Chawla has always blown hot and cold, but he is doing well to make up for the complete ineffectiveness of Praveen Kumar.
Praveen Kumar has forgotten how to swing the ball in the right direction. He resembles Munaf in his attitude on the field too.
AB De Villiers has single-handedly kept RCB up during chases, and is a handy innovator.
Muralitharan– their only strength in bowling, who is not playing currently, has been dropped for reasons only Vettori knows about.
Zaheer Khan, with his new haircut, is bowling well at the death- and that could only mean good things for a team looking to turn things around.
Daniel Vettori, the worst captain in the league, is inexplicably finding ways to lose with a team built in heaven.
Amit Mishra, with his formidable reputation, has done enough to let others think that his team is not being mauled- but losing close matches with dignity.