IPL 2020 Mid-Season Prediction: RCB Likely to Seal Place in Playoffs, CSK Could Miss Final Four Finish First Time
Three-time champions, eight-time finalists and IPL’s forever semi-finalists, CSK’s reign as the most consistent team in the history of the league may well draw to an end this season. They have won two of first seven games and lie on the bottom half of the IPL 2020 points table. MS Dhoni’s side are just two points far from hitting the wooden spoon.
Far from what could have been comprehended the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 13 is up and running. Initially scheduled for March, the IPL’s future hung in uncertainty as the world grappled and confronted against a health pandemic threatening the very existence of human life. The pandemic (COVID-19) still remains but amidst the continuous fight, the BCCI and IPL authorities found a way and a venue to host the cash-rich league. When Chennai Super Kings (CSK) play Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday (October 13), the IPL 2020 will officially enter its second stage of the season and perhaps the most crucial stage. .
Each team have now played at least seven games each in IPL 2020 with Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) massive 82 runs win over the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) completing the first half of the IPL season. Mumbai Indians currently lead the but are equal on points with Delhi Capitals and RCB (all of whom have 10 points each) and ahead only on a superior run rate. Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are at the bottom of the ladder with just one win and their chances of a top-four finish virtually diminished. As SRH hosts CSK, we take a look at IPL 2020 mid-season prediction and analyse each team’s chances of reaching the qualifiers..
Mumbai Indians – They are on top of the table and deservedly so. Mumbai Indians have been one of the two best teams in IPL 2020 so far and five wins from seven games is a testament to that. They started the season with a loss to CSK after failing to defend 163 but have since won four matches defending totals. Their only other loss is a super over defeat to RCB after a masterclass innings from Kieron Pollard and Ishan Kishan. Mumbai Indians are among the favourites to reach the play-offs.
Delhi Capitals – Getting Ricky Ponting as coach and appointing young Shreyas Iyer as the captain seems to have worked wonders for the Delhi Capitals. They are second in the table with the same number of points as MI and also in red hot-form. Their batting and bowling have clicked on most occasions this season and only defeats have come against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai. The injury to Rishabh Pant at this crucial stage will, however, be a worry for them.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) – The super over win over Mumbai Indians seems to have changed their fortunes while the return of a fit-again Chris Morris and AB de Villiers keeping wickets have balanced the side. RCB have won four of their last five matches and looked to have peaked at the right time. But despite the wins, their death bowling must remain a concern.
Morris has been excellent at the death with his yorkers but has few others to compliment him. The onus remains on the spinner to take wickets in the middle-overs and kill the opposition before the 16th over.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) – A team with one of the most destructive batting orders have surprisingly failed to click together as a batting order and have only relied on individual brilliance with the bat to win four of the seven games they have played. The bowlers have blown hot and cold while the reported action of Sunil Narine puts the KKR management in a precarious situation.
If Narine is reported again, he might be banned from bowling further in the IPL. KKR have also failed to take wickets in the powerplay and also in the opening 10 overs. They still look a side capable of finishing in the top four but must reassemble themselves and fine form.
Sunrisers Hyderabad – SRH only win when the top order scores heavily and the bowlers then combine to defend that score. Their weak and inexperienced middle-order make them incapable of chasing down a big total –as seen against Mumbai Indians – and so Sunrisers Hyderabad’s only winnable option remains to bat first, score big and back the bowlers to defend it. All four of their wins have come in that manner. And it is that way they will play for the remainder of the season and hope Rashid Khan and co keep delivering consistently.
Rajasthan Royals – The Royals started with a bang. Their top-order batting blew away the opposition in the opening two games and all the bowlers had to do was control the run-flow and victories looked easy. But since then the top-order look incapacitated.
Their only third win came due to the brilliance of Rahul Tewatia, who also won them the game against KXIP, and Riyan Parag. Rajasthan Royals’ bowling remains a worry while the top-order have rarely clicked from game three. Ben Stokes’ return will, however, balance the side and they will hope it also changes their fortunes. They need more than a balance now to reach the final four.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) – Three-time champions, eight-time finalists and IPL’s forever semi-finalists, CSK’s reign as the most consistent team in the history of the league may well draw to an end this season. They have won two of their opening seven games and lie on the bottom half of the IPL 2020 points table. MS Dhoni’s side are just two points far from hitting the wooden spoon and must find a way to score wins or miss the bus to the playoffs for the first time. Almost nothing has worked for CSK this season.
Their only two wins when the top-order scored runs. They seem to be carrying a non-existent middle-order while the bowlers have also been error-prone and fielding have been worse in the IPL. They don’t look like they can really manage six wins from the next seven. But MS Dhoni is a perennial winner.
Kings XI Punjab – Like the two teams above them, Kings XI Punjab’s main weakness seems to be their bowling. But it is also their incapability to win games they should have won they have left them at the bottom of the IPL table. Punjab lost to Delhi when needing 1 run from 3 balls with five wickets in hand and to KKR when they had to score 21 from 18 deliveries with nine wickets remaining.
Their poor team selection and inability to recognise their best playing XI remains a concern as does the stubbornness of captain KL Rahul to anchor the innings and not play his shots. It will be a miracle if KXIP qualify for the playoffs.