With 36 of the 56 group games gone, we thought we would have a quick look at how the 2015 Indian Premier League is panning out and try to have a guess at who the top four will be. With the table looking tight between fourth and last, however, this is almost impossible!
Rajasthan Royals are the current pace setters with 11 points from their eight games so far. The chasing pack all have games in hand, though, so their position is not impregnable. Kings XI Punjab, currently propping up the table on four points, behind Mumbai Indians only on net run rate, are also far from out of the equation. Now is the time to start piecing together a run of form, though.
The leading lights so far have been, with the bat first, Ajinkya Rahane of Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad captain, Dave Warner. They are the only players past the 300 run mark and Rahane is the proud holder of the orange cap with 323 runs at 53.83 and a strike rate of 122.81. Warner has been more explosive, his 317 runs have come at a fair lick; 153.88 runs per 100 balls faced. His runs atop the order have his side placed fifth at this stage.
A quick mention at this stage, too, for Brendon McCullum. The Chennai Super Kings batsman carried his explosive World Cup form into the IPL and bagged his second ever IPL tom against Sunrisers Hyderabad. That constitutes the only century of the tournament so far.
With the ball it is currently Delhi Daredevils’ Imran Tahir who is donning the purple cap with 13 wickets at 15.76 and an economy rate of 7.88. He leads from Chennai Super Kings’ seamer, Ashish Nehra, who has 12 scalps at 11.41 and an economy rate of 5.70.
The leading light with the ball, however, has been Mitchell Starc. The left arm seamer has continued his World Cup winning form at the IPL. He has only made three appearances, but appears to have galvanised a previously stuttering campaign for Royal Challengers Bangalore with seven wickets at a measly 9.42. He also has the standout economy rate of the tournament; 5.50. He is now crucial to Bangalore’s charge for the title.
In our IPL preview and prediction (IPL 2015 ones to watch, preview and prediction) piece at the beginning of the tournament, we selected our ‘ones to watch’ for the tournament. So, how were our predictions?
MS Dhoni – The Chennai Super Kings captain only has three dismissals behind the stumps from his six outings so far. To add to that, he has 171 runs at 42.75 and a strike rate of 123.02. We questioned if we would see a new Dhoni here after recent events surrounding him. We have not. It has been business as usual for him and for Chennai, who sit second.
Yuvraj Singh – We asserted that Yuvraj was over the hill and that his best days are behind him. We have been proved right so far. 124 runs at 17.71 is not enough for the man who was the most expensive acquisition in this year’s auction. There’s been no bowling from him, either.
Glenn Maxwell – 62 runs at 12.40 and zero wickets from two overs bowled all tournament. We predicted big things from Maxwell. We were wrong. If he can turn it around, however, he can also turn around Kings XI’s tricky start.
Sunil Narine – Two wickets for 147 runs from the remodelled West Indian. He was an obvious one to keep an eye on and early signs are that his effectiveness has been dimmed.
Pragyan Ojha – He’s only been given one game by Mumbai Indians. His two overs there were wicketless. He certainly has not been one to watch!
Ajinkya Rahane – See above. We’ll carry on banging his drum until the cows come home. He’s a fantastic player.
Ashok Dinda – Has not played a single game for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Oh dear…
Lokesh Rahul – We said that the Indian youngster would need to fire to keep Sunrisers Hyderabad in with a shout and he hasn’t really. 100 runs at 25 is an average return, so he hasn’t been a complete disaster, but nor has he been a roaring success. Maybe he has been biding his time, preparing for the business end of this year’s IPL…
We will, of course, look back over our selections at the tournament’s conclusion. As for picking a winner? We singled out Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings at the start. Kings XI have so far been let down by their overseas superstars whilst CSK are just doing a CSK; sitting in there, ensuring qualification, then utilising their knock-out know-how. You would not bet against them. Unless you know N Srinivasan and he’s told you otherwise…
By Miles Reucroft