As the Indian Premier League season 8 heads towards the playoffs stage, we take a look at the team's performances in the matches so far, and rate them accordingly.
Chennai Super Kings (8/10): It is almost a given that Chennai would be among the dominant sides in the event. This season has been no different. With 8 wins and four losses from 12 matches, they are currently occupying the top slot in the points table. Chennai faced a few reverses when they went down to Hyderabad and Kolkata, but picked themselves up soon enough. Their all-round ability and experience has been the key to their success.
Kolkata Knight Riders (7/10): With 7 wins and 4 losses from 12 matches, KKR find themselves in second spot, with 15 points (one match rained out). KKR have faced distractions with the Sunil Narine issue, but have handled themselves professionally. The performances of the two other spinners, Piyush Chawla and Brad Hogg, has been impressive. Andre Russell has also delivered some deadly blows with the willow. Overall, KKR have proved to be an extremely tough opponent.
Rajasthan Royals (6/10): The Royals will look back at their campaign so far with mixed feelings. They began IPL 8 in spectacular fashion, rolling over opponents with five wins in five matches. In the next eight matches though they have won only 1 and lost 5. Two other matches have been rained out. Thanks to their memorable start, they are still third with 14 points. Ajinkya Rahane has stood out, but the Aussie pair of Steven Smith and Shane Watson haa disappointed.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (6/10): They began their campaign on an uncertain note, but have picked themselves up wonderfully since, rising to number four with 7 wins and 5 losses in 12 matches. Skipper David Warner was carrying the team on his shoulders in the first half, but the likes of Eoin Morgan and Moises Henriques have joined the party lately. In the bowling, Trent Boult and the Kumars -- Bhuvneshwar and Praveen -- have impressed as well. Hyderabad are in serious contention for a playoffs spot.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (5/10): The high-profile side are fifth with 6 wins and 4 defeats from 11 games, and 13 points to their credit. While RCB are a top team without doubt, the problem with them is that they are heavily dependent on individual brilliance. Their wins have come courtesy spectacular efforts from the likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and, to a lesser extent, skipper Virat Kohli. In fact, it would be wrong to say that they are heavily reliant on the top three. How far they will go when the trio fails remains to be seen.
Mumbai Indians (5/10): In the initial few games, Mumbai just did not figure how to win. Then, they hit a purple patch winning five games in a row before de Villiers' brilliance brought them back on track. The defeat against RCB was a big setback for Mumbai in the wake of their earlier losses. They are now sixth with 6 wins and as many losses in 12 matches, with 12 points. Their batsmen and bowlers have found their groove as Mumbai hit a winning streak. But, they must continue winning to stay in contention.
Delhi Daredevils (3/10): When Delhi picked Yuvraj Singh as the most expensive buy during the auctions, they would have been hopeful of a good show. But, their performance has been nothing less than a disaster. With 8 losses and 4 wins, they have 8 points from 12 games, and are out of contention for a playoffs spot. Yuvraj has struggled, and his failure has mirrored that of the team. Their batting has been a massive letdown with foreign imports Quinton de Kock and Angelo Mathews not making much of an impact.
Kings XI Punjab (2/10): Last year's finalists, Punjab would have been looking forward to IPL 8. But, they are in last position, with 2 wins and 10 losses, and merely 4 points. The Kings have faltered primarily because their star names have failed to deliver. Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, George Bailey, Mitchell Johnson, Murali Vijay... the list is a long one. They have lacked the confidence to win, and must look to start afresh next season.
--By A Cricket Analyst