We are midway into the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with all the teams having played 7 or more matches.
Slowly but steadily, the teams at the top half of the IPL table are beginning to distance themselves from the teams at the bottom half of the table. The fans have got a fair idea about the strengths and weaknesses of their respective teams. Two teams that have really outshone the rest are Kolkata Knight Riders and the Mumbai Indians. With 7 wins out of 9 matches, Knight Riders top the standings with 14 points. They have a very healthy net run rate as well. Mumbai, too, have gelled well as a unit and having won 7 of their 8 games, they are placed 2nd in the standings. Barring any major dip in form, these 2 teams look all set to qualify for the playoffs.
Assuming that Kolkata and Mumbai make the playoffs, two spots will still be up for grabs. Amongst the remaining teams in the fray, defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad seem to be getting their campaign back on track. With 11 points from 9 matches, they are placed 3rd in the points table. If they can keep up the form they are currently exhibiting, there is high probability that they too will qualify for the playoffs. That would just leave one spot vacant.
Now, it is quite a task to predict the 4th team that would qualify for the IPL playoffs. The remaining 5 teams in the fray are placed very close to each other. The Rising Pune Supergiants, though are a notch ahead of the rest and are placed 4th in the standings with 10 points from 9 matches. However, the rest of the teams are not out of it yet and all of them still have a chance to occupy the 4th spot in the playoffs.
Though Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Daredevils are lagging behind in the points table with 5 and 4 points respectively, it would not be wise to write them off as of yet. Past seasons of the IPL have shown us how remarkably teams have turned the tide to qualify for the playoffs. Royal Challengers Bangalore and the erstwhile Chennai Super Kings are prime examples of that.
Also read: Five surprise performers of IPL 2017
Still as of yet, it looks like the battle for the 4th spot in the playoffs will be between 3 teams – Rising Pune Supergiants, Gujarat Lions and the Kings XI Punjab. Now, assuming Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and one among Pune, Gujarat and Punjab make the playoffs, let us take a shot at predicting the team that would go all the way to clinch the 10th edition of IPL.
We have already heard about the law of averages, haven’t we? And how everything on this universe is subject to it. It is for this reason that I wouldn’t put my money on either of KKR or Mumbai Indians to clinch the crown. Both the teams have been performing exceedingly well and I believe it is not long before the law catches up with them and their performance starts taking a dip. What I fear is that dip in form might occur at the most crucial juncture of the tournament. In such a case it would leave just 2 teams in the hunt – Sunrisers Hyderabad and one among Pune, Gujarat and Punjab.
With no disrespect to anyone, any sane cricket fan would agree that none of Pune, Gujarat or Punjab until now have had the guile of champions in their performance. And, it looks highly unlikely that either of them would make such a turnaround that would make them worthy of being champions. Now, this just leaves one team – defending champions, Sunrisers Hyderabad. And if you would ask me, I would put my money on them into retaining their crown.
It would be a huge thing to comment at this moment, but the David Warner led side seems to be peaking at the right time. Their bowling looks balanced with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan giving in consistent performances every match. Their batting too looks strong as ever with David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson in fine form. Moreover, even taking the law of averages into consideration, unlike the Mumbai Indians or Kolkata Knight Riders who have been dishing out exemplary performances right from the start, the team from Hyderabad have hit a purple patch only recently. Therefore, I would predict an IPL final between one of KKR or Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers with the latter coming out on top.
P.S. It should be noted that all of the above are based on my thoughts and gut feeling. There is absolutely no certainty to it. After all, the IPL is known to spring up surprises in the most unusual of ways.
So readers, do you agree with the analysis and the predictions? Please let us know of your thoughts in the comments section below.