We are now just a couple of weeks from the end of this year’s IPL campaign.The nine teams play in a round-robin league format, with every team playing the others twice. The top four teams qualify for the play-offs and in-turn for the final which is to be played on the 26th of May.
IPL has always provided entertainment and excitement and we should expect nothing else as we approach the culminating stages of the competition to decide the 2013 champions. As we are drawing to the close of the league-format part of the competition, it seems right to take a look at the top 5 teams fighting for a place in the final
In their first year in the IPL they have certainly caused some upsets, and currently sit at 5th in the table on 16 points from 13 games. Unlike RCB, none of the SH batsmen have stood out in the tournament so far; it has been their bowling attack of Mishra, Perera, Steyn and Sharma which has caused problems for batsmen this year. SH have consistently performed with the ball, but without a solid batting line up it is questionable whether they will be able to win the IPL.
Rajasthan have fielded a strong balanced side throughout this year’s IPL campaign, with runs and wickets shared throughout the squad. Though big stars Watson, Dravid, Rahane and Hodge have all fired, T20 specialists Cooper and Faulkner have taken the bulk of the wickets and have allowed the Rajasthan batsmen to flourish. The Royals currently sit on 18 points, and show good promise of reaching the playoffs led by experienced captain Dravid.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB have been all over the headlines this tournament, but perhaps lack the consistency which their class promises. With a team full of international stars one might hope for more than 16 points from 14 games. A batting line-up of Gayle, De Villiers and Kohli has set record-breaking scores in this campaign. Perhaps bowling attack’s inability to support the strong RCB batting line-up has left them with too much to do in their last couple of games to ensure qualification.
There were great hopes for Mumbai at the start of the championship, many were hoping for great things from the new opening partnership of legends Ponting and Tendulkar. However it has been some of the less famous Mumbai players who have got them to their current 2nd position in the table with 18 points. Runs from Karthik and Sharma have been backed up by a star bowling attack of Johnson, Singh and Malinga. Mumbai are yet to win the IPL, could this year be theirs?
Chennai Super Kings
CSK had a slow start to this year’s campaign but have found great form recently, winning four out of their last five matches. They currently top the table with 20 points and have a great mix of Indian and national players. Hussey, Raina and Captain Dhoni have all been consistent with the bat, while Bravo and Ashwin have been regularly taking wickets for the side. The depth of talent in this squad should safely see them through to the play-offs.
PHOTOS / Royal Challengers Bangalore; Superstar KSA