The IPL 2014 is fast heading toward the halfway stage, and the standings are beginning to take shape.
Early in the tournament, it can be difficult to get a read on what teams are looking in the best fettle. A host of new players are introduced, and various unfamiliar methods, batting orders and bowling tactics are also applied.
But at this point, after seeing all of the sides in action over the course of a few games, viewers can start to paint a much more realistic picture of which teams they feel might be capable of sampling glory at the end of the campaign.
So ahead of the Mumbai Indians’ clash with the Bangalore Royal Challengers on Tuesday, let's take a look at the current standings, the teams that are in form and the upcoming IPL fixtures for the next seven days.
Here are the current IPL 2014 standings and the respective form of each team:
The Chennai Super Kings lead the way after their win over the Delhi Daredevils. The Super Kings were able to capitalise on a shock defeat for Kings XI Punjab after they lost their first game of the competition against the previously winless Mumbai Indians:
And that puts us at the TOP OF THE TABLE! #whistlepodu— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) May 3, 2014
After some enormous hitting from Glenn Maxwell in the opening fixtures, there was a sense that Punjab might run away with this competition. The batsmen were firing, the fielding was sharp, and the bowling was tight.
But the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket came back to bite them, as the Mumbai outfit coasted to a five-wicket win. Mumbai will be hoping that victory can give their campaign some much-needed impetus. They still sit bottom of the pile but have played one fewer game than the Delhi Daredevils, who are two points ahead.
After beating Punjab in front of a raucous home crowd, they'll be desperate to establish their Wankhede stadium as a stronghold:
After losing their first game in a thriller against Kings XI Punjab, the Super Kings are the form team in the competition, having won their last six consecutive games. Inspired by a dynamic top-order trio of Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, they are capable of blitzing the opposition with some blistering batting.
But if the batsmen don’t get the job done, Chennai have some very capable bowlers too—most notably, the duo of Mohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, who have been the standout men with the ball in the tournament so far.
Here’s all the fixture details for the next seven days of IPL action:
|Delhi T20 v Kolkata T20||7 May 2014||11:30 a.m.|
|Punjab T20 v Chennai T20||7 May 2014||3:30 p.m.|
|Rajasthan T20 v Hyderabad T20||8 May 2014||3:30 p.m.|
|Bangalore T20 v Punjab T20||9 May 2014||3:30 p.m.|
|Delhi T20 v Hyderabad T20||10 May 2014||11:30 a.m.|
|Mumbai T20 v Chennai T20||10 May 2014||3:30 p.m.|
|Punjab T20 v Kolkata T20||11 May 2014||11:30 a.m.|
|Bangalore T20 v Rajasthan T20||11 May 2014||3:30 p.m.|
|Hyderabad T20 v Mumbai T20||12 May 2014||3:30 p.m.|
The current top two meet on Wednesday evening, with the winner looking likely to take the top sport in the final table.
Who'll win the top-of-the-table clash?
At the other end, a vital clash looks set to unfold between the Hyderabad Sunrisers and the Delhi Daredevils on Saturday. Neither side has been able to establish any kind of rhythm in the tournament so far, with a couple of wins each. This one is a must-win for both teams heading into the second half of the group stage, as dropping points would surely put an end to their hopes of making the knockout stages.
On the same day, the Mumbai Indians face the current leaders. They need to put a winning run together in the second half of the competition, but don’t expect them to get anything from a game against a Super Kings side that are looking increasingly imperious.
There’s still a long way to go in this competition, and given the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket, so much can change quickly. But at this juncture, the Chennai Super Kings certainly look like the team to beat following a plethora of impressive showings.
Even in their solitary defeat, they managed to post an enormous total of 205/4, falling foul of an unbelievable innings from the competition's top run-scorer, Maxwell.
Chennai have a wonderfully balanced batting line-up and so much variety in their bowling attack. They are definitely the most likely winners at this stage, with Kings XI Punjab the team that seem best equipped to challenge.
If you’re after a potential dark horse, then the Royal Challengers Bangalore are well placed to mount a late charge. In Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, they have two genuine limited-overs specialists. The South African in particular showcased some sparkling form in his last outing:
There have been signs that both could be beginning to find their form in recent clashes, and that could see them shoot up the standings and provide a major threat in the knockout phase.