We have reached the half way stage of this year’s IPL and the points table shows how unpredictable the shortest format of the game really is. The Delhi Daredevils have shocked everyone and are in second place, while Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore are second bottom.
We look at the changes the teams can make in the second half of their campaign and try to identify a team which would give a perfect balance.
Punjab have lost 5 of the 6 games they have played. To pin point what has gone wrong in their campaign is quite easy to do.
They could bring in the players they brought in the last auctions and give them 2-3 matches to prove their worth. This team will provide them good balance going forward.
New Lineup : S. Marsh, M. Vijay, M. Vohra, G. Maxwell, Gurkeerat, Saha, KC Kariappa, P. Sahu, K. Abott, M. Johnson and M. Sharma
Gurkeerat has done well for Punjab before and has also made his International debut. KC Kariappa is one of the mystery spinners going around in the Indian domestic circuit, adding him might just give Punjab the X Factor they need.
From being the odds on favorites for the title, to being 7th in the table, a lot has gone right for Virat Kohli’s men, but a lot more has gone terribly wrong. The major problem with RCB is the lack of balance in their squad. They are either way too strong in the batting department or way too weak in their bowling.
So what’s the solution to their problem?
One of either Chris Gayle or Shane Watson has to be dropped. Looking at RCB’s scores in this year’s IPL, Gayle and Watson have made no contribution with the bat, so dropping Gayle should not be a major problem. Watson has been underwhelming with the bat but has been a decent bowler and has taken crucial wickets. With Chris Jordan in the team now, it is highly unlikely that Gayle and Watson will play together. So how do they reach the right balance?
New Lineup : Rahul, Kohli, de Villiers, Sarfaraz, Sachin Baby, H. Patel, Nechim, Binny, Chahal, Jordan and Milne.
Pune’s problems start from the top and flow down nicely towards the bottom.
Ajinkya Rahane has given them good starts in almost every game but he consumes a lot of balls up front and doesn’t quite accelerate after being set. What Pune needs is a batting order which can revolve around the solid start Rahane gives them. Faf du Plessis and Steve Smith haven’t quite given the support Rahane needs and it has resulted in Pune struggling in the middle order and not putting up enough runs on the board for a mediocre bowling line up of M. Ashwin, R. Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and the supporting bowlers. Add to that, the indifferent form of their captain, MS Dhoni.
With Kevin Pietersen and Du Plessis injured and out of the IPL, Usman Khawaja has been called upon to be the replacement. So how should they progress from here on?
New Lineup : Khawahja, Rahane, S. Smith, Ms Dhoni, M. Marsh, T. Perera, R. Bhatia. R. Ashwin, M. Ashwin, I. Pandey and I. Sharma.
Khawaja will provide the explosive start Pune needs, which can then help batsmen like Smith, Dhoni, Marsh and Perera to play their natural game.
Sun risers have had a very indifferent start to this year’s IPL. Having won and lost 3 matches, they are at an interesting point in their campaign. The major concern for them has been injuries to Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra.
David Warner has been the key to their success so far but without his contribution, Sun Risers have looked below par.
So what should be their ideal combination once they get all their injured players back?
New Lineup : Warner, Dhawan, Williamson, Yuvraj, Hooda, N. Ojha, P. Rasool, M. Rahman, Boult, Nehra and B. Kumar
Delhi have quite a unique problem on their hands. They have excess of quality batsmen that can bat at top of the order.
Selecting the right balance between Shreyas Iyer, Karun Nair, Mayank Aggarwal, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samsom has been a headache so far for the Delhi think tank.
Their biggest blunder this season has been the purchase of Pawan Negi. No doubt that he is one of the best talents out there but he isn’t one of the top 5 batsman nor does he feature as one of the 5 front line bowlers. Spending 8.5 crores on such a player looks like waste of money.
After a very ordinary start to the season, Delhi have bounced back really well and have surprised everyone. Zaheer’s brilliant captaincy and some quality death bowling has given them 3 wins out of the 5 matches they have played.
So what combination would probably give them the right balance?
De Kock, Iyer, Samson, R. Pant, Duminy, P. Negi, A. Mishra, I. Tahir, C. Morris, Z. Khan and M. Shami
Mumbai has played at least 3 matches more than the team that has played the least number of matches so far. Which gives their position at number 3 a false sense of security. With 6 matches left, they would ideally have to win at least 4 more matches to qualify to even be in contention for a top 4 finish. Add to that, their home games are now being shifted out of their fortress, Wankhede, which would make it even more difficult for the team to adapt and get the required number of wins.
So how do they possibly go ahead in the season?
U. Chand, R. Sharma, A. Rayadu, J. Buttler, K. Pollard, H. Pandya, K. Pandya, H. Singh, J. Bumrah, M. Mcclenaghan and T. Southee
Parthiv hasn’t given Mumbai the start they needed in 7 of the 8 games they have played, plus with Rayadu and Buttler in the team, there in no need to play a specialist Wicket Keeper.
SRK’s men have looked like 2 different teams this season. One that bats first and the other that chases down totals. Interestingly, both their losses have come when they have batted first. So what actually has gone wrong?
Unlike most of their seasons, they look over-reliant on Uthappa and Gambhir this season. To add to that, they haven’t quite figured out which 4 international players would give them the right balance.
So what team should KKR play in the their upcoming matches?
Uthappa, Gambhir, C. Lynn, M. Pandey, S. Kumar, Y. Pathan, A. Russel, P. Chawla, S. Naraine, U. Yadav and M. Morkel
Top of the table with just one loss out of the six games they have played, Gujarat look all set for the playoffs. They still have slight problems which when addressed, would make them a very difficult team to beat. For instance, their batting line up after Dwayne Smith, B. Mccullum and Raina looks really fragile. It was evident in their last match against Delhi where they scored 110 runs in the first 10 overs and 62 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in the last 10 overs.
So, how do the table toppers maintain their position?
B. Mccullum, D. Smith, S. Raina, E. Dwivedi, D. Karthik, R. Jadeja, D. Bravo, J. Faulker, P. Kumar, D. Kulkarni and S. Ladda.
E. Dwiwedi was the highest run scorer for UP in the Syed Mushtaq Trophy which they won this year. Having him instead of the struggling Ishan Kishan will give them a balance in the middle order which will further enhance their squad.