Saturday, 18 April 2009

IPL Predictions

this article has been published here

With IPL version 2.0 all set to dazzle its audience in the same manner that IPL 1.0 did, it’s time to stick one’s neck out and jump into astrologer territory and make predictions for what will unfold. There is the risk of ending up with egg on my face, but there is also the infinitely satisfying reward of having an ‘I-told-you-so’ smirk on my face to consider. So here goes (drumrolls reaching a crescendo) – Ladies, Gentlemen and those who merely watch the cricket to ogle at the cheerleaders – the predictions for how teams will fare:

The four semi-finalists this year are likely to be the following:
Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals.

Here is why:

Both Chennai and Delhi have used a smart buying strategy and built a very good core of Indian players. Bearing in mind that of the playing XI, seven have to be Indians, this is a hugely important fact.

Mumbai and Rajasthan are also well balanced, and with Rajasthan you have to take into account the X-factor of Warne’s charisma and the franchisee’s talent-spotting ability.

To take my prediction (and my sticking-out-neck) further, Chennai and Delhi are the teams that I see contesting the finals on the 24th May. They edge out the other two, simply because they look better balanced in all the departments of the game – they have powerful batting lineups and bowling attacks with considerable teeth. Mumbai and Rajasthan are also brimming with potential – and I can’t wait to see how Ryan McLaren and Graham Napier of Mumbai and Tyron Hendersen of Rajasthan perform – but they’re not quite at the level of Chennai and Delhi.

I see Punjab and Hyderabad at the bottom of the table this season. Hyderabad has a very weak bowling attack, and as last year showed, an awesome batting line-up on paper is no guarantee of even an average performance. Their batting would need to click in every match for them to have a chance at all – and I don’t see that happening.

Change Hyderabad to Punjab in the above paragraph and you have the story for the King’s Eleven, except that their batting, if anything, looks weaker than Hyderabad’s on paper. Punjab will be sorely hit by the absence of Brett Lee, James Hopes and Sreesanth – leaving their bowling looking like an orphaned child. They sorely need Shaun Marsh to be fully fit and available, which also doesn’t seem likely.

The Bangalore and Kolkata outfits seem to have got their strategy wrong. After Pietersen leaves, the Bangalore captain would be Jacques Kallis – whereas he hasn’t done enough last time to merit an automatic selection in the starting XI. Including him at the expense of either Boucher, or Cameron White or Ross Taylor might not be the soundest strategic move.

As for Kolkata, their balance – like last time – doesn’t look good enough. They will also be sorely hit by the absence of Pakistani and Australian players. And Chris Gayle is available for only 2 weeks. If that wasn’t enough, Buchanan (who probably needs to stop reading Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ and start reading Don Bradman’s ‘The Art of Cricket’) has stirred up a hornet’s nest with his multiple captain theory. Somebody ought to tell the man, that captains are not like orgasms – multiple ones are not a good idea.


Subrat Patnaik said...

Nice comparison in the end...
bold and precise ;)

Anonymous said...

Whatever... thats just too much of cricket. I can't tell a difference between all these teams. T20 is all by chance, any team can beat any team. I won't waste my time analyzing or reading about them.

Salil said...

Came here from GB's blog.
I am not sure about RR's making to the top 4 this time around. But
I would be keenly watching how Delhi performs.
Loved the last paragraph on Buchanan :-)

Saurabh Somani said...

@Subrat: thanks :)

@Anonymous: agree, that T20 is about chance more than skill. just thought it'd be fun to do a pre-IPL thing anyway!

@Salil:thanks... checked out your blog - it's quite hilarious! :)

Anonymous said...

I strongly feel Delhi and Mumbai will play the finals this year with Delhi lifting the trophy eventually...Chennai and Bangalore will be the losing semi finalists. As for my favourite Dada's team :(, I see them finishing last, above them will be Rajasthan Royals in 7th position. Deccan and King's 11 will finish 5th and 6th respectively...


Don Z said...

Well couldnt diagree with you more...
Rajasthan making it to the semis would be a Slumdoggish story which is why they say "Lightening doesnt strike twice."

Which leaves out an open 4th position for the semis..which i think wud be fought between the Chargers ,Priety's Boys & hello ..RCB !!

Rajasthan and KKR are doomed this season..

Anonymous said...

I See Chennai At the top of the table , because of their terrific batting lineup in Hayden Raina Morkel Dhoni & Flintoff{2 weeks} , and of course Mike Hussey in the semi's ,

The Bowling Lineup is equally good with Morkel ,Joginder sharma ,Makhaya , & Muralitharan with all his cricketing experience and the SA pitches , and of course , local talene such as M Gony , L Balaji , and .

It All depends on how well the kings are able to shuffle their cards well . . .

Saurabh Somani said...

@Mondy: Good to see you here, after a while! Bangalore does have a chance of making the semis, but I think it will be quite a scrap for the fourth spot.

@Don: Don't you think it's a little early to say Rajasthan are doomed? Agreed, their only performance so far has been as insipid as it gets, but T20 is such a lottery... one can't really say much for sure.

@Anonymous: I wouldn't include Joginder Sharma amongst the 'good' bowlers that Chennai have - but there is no denying the fact that they look like one of the teams to beat. Though as Mumbai showed, they can be beaten. Also, Delhi have an at least equally powerful batting lineup.

Sekhar said...

hmmm .. would the writer now like to revise his predictions, considering Deccan Chargers' form - RP, Rohit, Gibbsy and Gilly ??

RR worked the first season around as they had a good young Indian bunch. They havent been able to adjust to SA pitches and I dont see them doing that in the near future...

singamore said...

Delhi and Chennao in FInals this year.

Mad Blogger said...

Guess the world of IPL changed dramitically since u posted this blog.. I too had almost same teams going through as my predictions in my blog.. But this format of the game ceases to surprise.. he he he