Any T20 league, especially IPL, requires a stable and balanced combination of players to deliver throughout the tournament.
Keeping this observation in mind, many in the cricketing community believed we already have the four teams that will make it into the playoffs. The four most successful and balanced teams in the history of IPL – Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
However, the most predictable thing about IPL is its unpredictability. Even though it’s just one week into the tournament, the teams have already flipped the script on our predictions. Week 1 of the IPL has already featured a super over, upsets, and injuries. Today we’ll make some bold predictions as to which teams may make the playoffs, which teams might be at the bottom, and lastly, which team may win the tournament based on Week 1 performances.
Which teams will probably qualify for the playoffs?
MUMBAI INDIANS – The mighty MI hasn’t been placed below the 5th position since 2009. Therefore, there’s a high chance that the defending champions will qualify for the playoffs this time around as well.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS – This may come as a shock for some. However, CSK has qualified for the playoffs in every season of the IPL. Even though the team seems to have been struggling with the absence of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh and in the injury of Ambati Rayadu, skipper MS Dhoni definitely has some tricks rolled up in his sleeves!
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – KKR showed form in their match against SRH. They might have to consider their plan of opening with Sunil Narine. However, other pieces of the puzzle namely Shubman Gill, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Nitish Rana, Shivam Mavi, and Pat Cummins have shown positive glimpses. The team will await the fireworks from Andre Russell.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – Punjab has been clinical in their performances. They have someone or the other shinning in every department of the game. Skipper KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are managing the top order. They have a decent middle-order with Karun Nair, Glenn Maxwell, and Sarfaraz. Sheldon Cottrell and Shami are taking care of the pace-bowling. Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin are handling the spin department.
Teams which may not make it into the playoffs
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD – It’s unfair to judge this early, keeping in mind their track record over the years. However, SRH just does not seem in their element. The top order is stacked with David Warner, Johnny Bairstow, and Manish Pandey. However, the middle-order looks highly flawed. Also, being known for bowling, their bowling hasn’t picked up steam as well.
DELHI CAPITALS – Delhi have won both of their matches in their first week. However, it’s very early to judge them as a top force as of now. They experienced a collapse in their first match. They will have to improve in all departments. Also, Ashwin’s injury has been a tough thing to recover from.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS – Royals again looked phenomenal but it’s too early to judge. Their middle-order is short of some steam. Therefore, if Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, and Sanju Samson couldn’t deliver, it will be tough for them.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE – RCB seems to have been following the same pattern they did in every season. However, their pace bowling has being punished especially in the death overs.
Which team can probably win the IPL?
Keeping Week 1 performances and overall history in mind, there’s a high chance that Mumbai Indians will make it two in a row. Spin has been an issue for them, however, both Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar will gain momentum and a better understanding of the pitches as the tournament would progress. Both of them are capped Indians players and will pull up their socks. So can Jasprit Bumrah. As per batting is concerned, they still have names like Ishan Kishan and Chris Lynn who can fill in anytime.
You can never count out CSK though. They won only 7 out of the 14 matches in 2010 and still went on to become the champions. Also, there may be a chance this year that we may see a new champion. It has been difficult to predict due to the COVID circumstances leading to many great players like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Pat Cummins giving lacklustre performances.
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