IPL 2022 – Midway through what’s worked and what hasn’t!
The 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League is more than halfway through its league stage. While the newcomers in Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants have performed admirably, the stalwarts of the league in Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings occupy the last two spots.
Here’s a look at what’s worked and what’s gone wrong for the teams as they stand.
Gujarat Titans: With 12 points on the board and with half their games still to be played, they have been the most impressive team of the tournament so far.
- What’s worked: Substantial contribution from one key player with bat or ball in each game to go along with astute captaincy from Hardik Pandya. Six different player of the matches in each of their six wins, ranging from Shubman Gill to Mohammed Shami, shows that GT haven’t been a one-trick wonder.
- What hasn’t: Runs from their wicket-keeper batters have been hard to come by with Matthew Wade and Wriddhiman Saha scoring 104 runs in 7 outings at an average of 14.9. Lack of runs from Vijay Shankar resulted in his exclusion as well, having been given the crucial number three spot in the batting order at the start of the tournament.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: One of the less fancied squads post the auction, nobody expected SRH to be at number two in the points table after the 38th match. However, as we often come to associate with a team led by Kane Williamson, the underdogs have punched above their weight.
- What’s worked: A quality bowling attack which has made the most out of responsive pitches. The skill of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to go along with the bounce of Marco Jansen and the raw pace of Umran Malik has rattled batters on pitches conducive to fast bowling. This has meant that they have been able to chase down par scores on most occasions.
- What hasn’t: Even though Williamson has won all seven tosses so far, runs from his bat haven’t come the way he would have liked to. The skipper has only managed 143 runs from seven hits at an underwhelming strike rate of 94.7.
Rajasthan Royals: Sitting third on the points table are the inaugural champions, the Rajasthan Royals. The auction saw them end with one of the best squads in recent years and boy have they lived up to the expectations of their team on paper.
- What’s worked: When your opening batter scores three hundreds in seven games and your frontline leg spinner leads the wickets table with 18 wickets, not much can go wrong. Jos Buttler and Yuzvendra Chahal have been exemplary in the batting and bowling departments, respectively and have been ably supported by the rest of the cast.
- What hasn’t: Even though runs have come in plenty, the finisher’s role is up for grabs. Young Riyan Parag continues to be backed, even though he has only managed 18 runs from his five hits. Trent Boult has also been relatively off color having gone at 8.79 runs to the over so far in the tournament.
Lucknow Super Giants: The second of the new teams, occupying the fourth place in the points table. Players standing up at crucial junctures is what has made LSG a strong contender in their inaugural edition of the IPL.
- What’s worked: KL Rahul continues to be a run machine in the IPL and has already stacked up two hundreds in eight innings so far. Contributions from other batters time and again has led them to defendable totals while Avesh Khan has continued to be the leading wicket taker. Krunal Pandya and Ravi Bishnoi have delivered steady performances while Jason Holder has quietly gone about his business.
- What hasn’t: The Manish Pandey mystery continues to be a curious one. The player to have scored the first IPL hundred by an Indian continues to struggle, having only managed 88 runs from his six hits at a meagre strike rate of 110.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: With a new captain, a lot was expected of RCB as it retained a few core players while blooding in a mix of experience and youth. Midway through, they continue to blow hot and cold, having folded for 68 in their most recent outing.
- What’s worked: A rejuvenated Dinesh Karthik has led the way with the bat for RCB, with captain Faf du Plessis making a couple of significant scores. While the rest of the batting has underperformed, the bowling trio of Wanindu Hasaranga, Josh Hazlewood and Harshal Patel have been a handful on the pitches produced so far.
- What hasn’t: With an economy rate of 9.73 runs per over, Mohammed Siraj hasn’t given his team the kind of performances which is expected from a seasoned campaigner. The whole of India and cricket fans in general will also be looking forward to some runs from Virat Kohli, who has had three lean outings of late.
Delhi Capitals: If there is one word to sum up the DC so far, it’s ‘frustrating.’ They have one of the better-balanced squads in the edition and are certainly stronger on paper than most of the teams, yet they are languishing at the sixth place having won only three out of their seven games.
- What’s worked: The opening combination of Prithwi Shaw and David Warner has been one of the talking points of the season. While most teams have struggled to get an opening partnership going because of the moving ball, the duo have had partnerships of 67, 93, 50, 83 and 43. With 13 wickets and the backing of captain and coach, Kuldeep Yadav has had an excellent tournament so far and would like to continue his form as he pushes his case for a T20 World Cup spot.
- What hasn’t: Lack of significant middle order runs and untimely dismissals have led to DC failing to close out innings on most occasions. They will also be hopeful of more wickets from the experienced duo of Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Last year’s finalists went into this season with an in-form new captain in Shreyas Iyer. What they also did was to pick up old horses in Ajinkya Rahane and Umesh Yadav, hoping for experience to come in handy rather than the fearlessness of youth.
- What’s worked: As often is the case with KKR, Andre Russell continues to be the most feared player in the line-up. While the decision to buy Umesh Yadav has given powerplay wickets to them. The other surprise has been Tim Southee, who has generally been expensive in the previous IPL editions in which he has featured.
- What hasn’t: Pretty much everyone except for the ones mentioned above. Lack of runs from last season’s wonder Venkatesh Iyer to the inability of Pat Cummins, Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine to get wickets has meant that KKR have had to rely heavily on Russell to score runs and take wickets.
Punjab Kings: Like DC, Punjab Kings also ended up with a solid squad at the end of their auction. It was also a chance for Mayank Agarwal to show off his captaincy skills to the viewers. While the backing of his players has been commendable, results have not gone their way.
- What’s worked: Except for the batting of Liam Livingstone and the leg spin of Rahul Chahar, there has been little to talk about for PBKS. The odd contribution has come from one or the other players, but they have struggled to get their act together as a team.
- What hasn’t: Aggressive, but reckless seems to be their batting approach this season. An approach which saw them chase down 206 with an over to spare in their first game, but since then has seen them getting bowled out thrice. This includes an absolute thrashing from DC in their last game when they chased down Punjab’s 115 with 57 balls to spare. Much was expected from the opening combination of Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan along with the big hitting Shah Rukh Khan, but all three have had underwhelming seasons so far.
Chennai Super Kings: Never did anyone think that a mid-season analysis would involve analysing the performance of the team in yellow from a number nine position. With five losses from seven games, there isn’t much to talk about what has gone right for CSK.
- What’s worked: Runs from Shivam Dube and the old timer in Robin Uthappa to go along with the batting revival of the legendary, but ‘player-only’ MS Dhoni. Dwayne Bravo continues to pick up wickets with the ball and of late, has started to receive some support from Mahesh Theekshana and Mukesh Choudhary.
- What hasn’t: While many point to the injury to Deepak Chahar as the key reason for CSK’s woes, one must remember that cricket is not a single member sport. CSK have lacked the cohesion and role clarity for which they are renowned. Except for a couple of strong performances, they have struggled right from start to finish and haven’t looked anywhere near the champion team which they have been for all these years.
Mumbai Indians: Five losses from five games is something Mumbai fans have endured in the past. However, eight from as many games is a bitter pill to swallow.
- What’s worked: Apart from the batting of Suyrakumar Yadav and Tilak Verma, there is no talking point whatsoever when it comes to positives.
- What hasn’t: The entire bowling unit has failed to grab their opportunities and the economy rates of some of their most experienced bowlers range from 9.5 to 11.2. When that is the case, no matter how powerful your batting line-up is, it becomes impossible to chase down sky-high targets every time. Couple that with the lack of runs from Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard, its not too difficult to understand why MI are languishing at the bottom of the table. Just goes on to show that a captain is only as good as his players.
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