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IPL 2018 - Half way through - who is where and what lies ahead?

CSK favourites to win the IPL from here?

With all the teams having played half or more of the total number of allotted games, here is a look at how the teams stand and what lies ahead for them.

Chennai Super Kings

Position – Second

Tournament so far – At the start of the tournament, many expressed their concerns against the average age of the CSK side and that is exactly what they have used in their favor. The experience of some their players has meant that every time they have been put in a fix, one of their experienced campaigners has bailed them out. The captain has led from the front and has silenced all the people who have been questioning his finishing abilities. They might have lost a couple of players due to injury but seem to be well covered.

Road ahead – CSK look all set to finish among the top three teams. They have been outstanding in the tournament so far and have handled tense situations very well. The fact that they have players who read the situation extremely well bodes well for them.

Delhi Daredevils

Position – Eighth

Tournament so far – The Daredevils came into the tournament with a two-time trophy winner in Gautam Gambhir, leading them. Apart from special innings from Jason Roy, which took them to an incredible win, DD looked hapless in their first six games. Their bowling was shoddy and their international stars failed to rise to the occasion. Unable to score runs and unable to change his side’s fortunes, skipper Gambhir stepped down from the captaincy and was ousted from the eleven. The last game saw them unleash a new brand of cricket under new skipper Shreyas Iyer, who led from the front and fetched Delhi a much needed second win of the season.

Road ahead – T20 is a momentum game and Delhi will look to build on their last victory. They will need to win five of their last seven matches if they are to stand a chance of qualifying for the playoffs. Considering the fact that four of those matches are against Chennai and Hyderabad, a playoffs spot looks unlikely.

Kings XI Punjab

Position – Third

Tournament so far – Blessed with the most explosive opening combination of the season, the Kings XI Punjab have had a season to cherish so far. The decision to trust Ravichandran Ashwin with the captaincy was a bold one, given his lack of leadership experience. However, he has not been shy to try things out and has led from the front. The only worry for them has been the fact that they have dropped points when their openers have not fired for them, making them over-reliant on them. The bowling too has done well with Mujeeb ur Rahman and Andrew Tye being the notable names.

Road ahead – Expect KXIP to drop a few more points as they try to manage Gayle’s workload. The likes of Mayank Agarwal and Aaron Finch need to step up if the Kings are to finish strongly at the top. They have already made the tough call of dropping an out-of-form Yuvraj Singh and there is no reason why more such decisions will not be taken should the need arise. That being said, they would still be one of the favorites for a top three finish.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Position – Fourth

Tournament so far – With a squad as thin as the Knight Riders’ it is surprising to see them in the top four. They have punched above their weight thanks largely due to the contribution of Andre Russell, who has single handedly won a couple of games for them. Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn have been solid at the top while Robin Uthappa has got off to starts without making it big – the story of his career! Skipper Dinesh Karthik has made some questionable decisions at times but has backed young players in Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi.

Road ahead – Three of KKR’s remaining matches are against Hyderabad, Chennai and Punjab. Strong showing in a couple of those could see them hanging on to the fourth spot. The loss of form of any of their starting eleven players could become a big headache for them!

Mumbai Indians

Position – Sixth

Tournament so far – Numbers don’t always tell the true story, certainly not if you are the Mumbai Indians. They have had more last over finishes in this season than some of the teams would have had in their history and have ended up on the wrong side of more often than not. 39 overs of good cricket have been undone by one poor over somewhere. Apart from Kieron Pollard, who was not used to full potential, pretty much every member has contributed when the opportunity has come across. In particular, Suryakumar Yadav at the top of the order and the leg spin of Mayank Markrande have stood out for Mumbai. One must also give credit to Krunal Pandya for consistently putting in all-round shows.

Road ahead – Mumbai have turned things around once in 2015 when they won seven of their last eight games to make it to the playoffs and eventually become champions. History is known to repeat itself but they will have to play out of their skins to make that happen once more. At best, they could fight with Kolkata for the fourth place.

Rajasthan Royals

Position – Fifth

Tournament so far – The inability to find their best eleven has haunted the Rajasthan Royals and they owe their fifth position on the points table due a combination of rain and some sheer brilliance from Krishnappa Gowtham, who has been the find of the tournament for them. Sanju Samson has impressed one and all once again while Jofra Archer has been of tremendous value from the moment he has come into the team. Apart from that, there has been very little to talk about and even though Ajinkya Rahane has made a few handy contributions, his captaincy hasn’t exactly been too inspiring!

Road ahead – The Royals have lacked direction and the hunger that teams are normally associated with. Lack of runs from Jos Buttler and the indifferent form of Ben Stokes have hurt the Royals bad. They will need a drastic improvement in the performances of their England stars to go along with that of Rahul Tripathi if they are to scratch their way up to the fourth spot. Based on their current form and attitude, that looks unlikely.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Position – Seventh

Tournament so far – Like it has been for the past few seasons, RCB have struggled to have their big scores backed up by a decent bowling effort. Yes, Umesh Yadav has been exceptional for them but the other bowlers have struggled for consistency. This has forced RCB to chop and change constantly and they are yet to find their best eleven. The batting has once again been heavily dependent on AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli while Quinton de Kock has had quite a few starts without a really big score. Their bowlers have gone at over 13 runs per over in the last four overs, meaning that their death bowling has been their major cause of concern.

Road ahead – A playoffs spot looks unlikely and they will do well to avoid coming last in back to back seasons. The perennial underachievers tagline is set to remain with RCB unless their bowling becomes somewhat similar to the Sunrisers which is highly unlikely!

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Position – First

Tournament so far – They have been the toughest team to beat this season. The absence of David Warner was expected to have an impact on them but their bowling has come up to the forefront and has more than made up for any batting failures. While their batting has been a concern of late, their bowlers have defended the lowest of totals, making teams wary of any score put on the board by them. Be it bowling Mumbai out for 87 in a chase of 118 or restricting Rajasthan to 140 in a chase of 151, they have done it all. More importantly they have done it without their pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Above all, one must also give credit to Kane Williamson, who has led the team brilliantly and has batted with freedom.

Road ahead – The Sunrisers have been favourites since the start of the tournament and have played quality cricket. Two more wins ought to secure their playoffs spot. However, given their supremacy over the other teams, they will certainly win more than just two more games. They are poised for a top of the table finish.

Prediction - On balance, CSK and Sunrisers to go all the way to the final stages, SunRisers Hyderabad to win IPL 2018. For all the latest cricket betting tips on the IPL you can visit our cricket betting section.

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