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    April 28, 2009

    Too early to call the IPL semi-final line-up?

    The Indian Premier League points table indicates that Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians should take up 3 of the 4 semi-final spots. Yet, it is perhaps worth pointing out that less than a third of the league phase games of this IPL season have been completed.

    Each team plays 14 games in the league phase and most teams have something like 9-10 games more to play. That's a huge number of games still in hand to reliably predict a semi-final lineup. Bangalore Royal Challengers maybe down right now, but you really can't rule out anything for any side right now.

    The key aspect in the remaining games is who will be available, who won't be and who will replace the ones that're missing.

    The only international cricket being played is West Indies tour of England. The teams impacted are Kolkata Knight Riders (Gayle), Bangalore Royal Challengers (Pietersen) and Delhi Daredevils (Shah and Collingwood - are they both considered great 12th man material? Is that why Delhi bought them and haven't bothered playing both yet, especially considering they're going to be unavailable from next week?). Chennai Super Kings have already lost Flintoff.

    Some of the Aussies currently playing against Pakistan will return. Kings XI Punjab will especially benefit considering they will have Hopes and Lee back (Marsh is injured). Bracken will be back for Bangalore Royal Challengers, Hussey (David, not Michael who's currently shopping for runs in Perth) returns for Kolkata Knight Riders, Symonds returns for Deccan Chargers and Watson for Rajasthan Royals, providing he doesn't injure himself while collecting his bags after getting off the flight from Dubai to Johannesburg.

    Then there are some reasonably known 'foreign' players who haven't even been used so far (BRC - Cameron White; DC - Chamara Silva, Vaas & Zoysa; DD - Andrew McDonald & Maharoof; KXIP - Katich & Pomersbach; KKR - Langeveldt, Mortaza; MI - Dilhara Fernando, Mills, Ashraful & Ronchi; RR - Morne Morkel). Some others (McGrath, Fleming, Dravid) will probably turn up if needed.

    It is perhaps safe to assume that by and large, the Indian players without international experience, who will probably start getting more opportunities now, will not significantly impact the result of too many games.

    For evidence, the most runs made so far by an Indian player who hasn't featured in any (or too many) internationals for India is 88 from 5 innings by Virat Kohli. Next best is Ravindra Jadeja's 70 in 3 innings. Karan Goel's 57 from 4 innings is the highest by someone who has no international experience. The most wickets by an Indian player who hasn't played any internationals is Kamran Khan's 5 wickets from 3 games.

    Last season, Yusuf Pathan (having played 1 T20 game for India) and Manpreet Gony were the best among those Indian players who didn't have any (or too much) international experience.

    Looking at the list of new entrants (and those who haven't yet played), Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers seem best placed since they won't lose people and will have enough quality players available to pick from. Kings XI Punjab will gain the most since their Aussie players will be available and the bowling gets strengthened. Pietersen is an impact player, so even though he has flopped majorly so far, he could have turned it around in a couple of games to get Bangalore Royal Challengers' campaign back on the rails. Bracken is an excellent bowler, but Bangalore's main problem is the batting. Kolkata Knight Riders will suffer since Gayle will leave and assuming Langeveldt/Mortaza aren't drafted into the captaincy committee, that's one less skipper for them.

    So now, maybe it isn't too far fetched if I predicted that Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers should make it to 2 of the 4 semi-final spots. Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils will in all likelihood make up the remaining 2 semi-finalists. But hang on, that is essentially what the points table is telling us right now! Like Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" (the more things change, the more they stay the same).

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 12:33 PM |
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    By Blogger Ben Somerford (28-Apr-2009, 9:09:00 PM)  

    Jagadish,
    DC is also going to be hit most by Edwards departure. he is their best bowler and bowler of the tournament so far and their back up bowing is very weak too. but their run so far should take them to semi final.
    I won't rule out BRC/CSK so easily at this time.

    By Anonymous Gana (29-Apr-2009, 12:36:00 AM)  

    True, Gana. Forgot about him. DC suffered majorly with their pathetic bowling lineup last time around.

    By Blogger Jagadish (29-Apr-2009, 2:06:00 PM)  

    U sure Kohli hasnt played any international?
    I thought Stephen Fleming,is just the coach for CSK.

    By Blogger Tarun (29-Apr-2009, 8:40:00 PM)  

    Tarun - I do say "the most runs made so far by an Indian player who hasn't featured in any (or too many) internationals for India". Kohli is in the "hasn't featured in too many" category. I thought Stephen Fleming was a player-coach, turns out his contract as a player was for 1 year (http://www.cricinfo.com/newzealand/content/story/376920.html), so you're right.

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    By Anonymous Vidyut Krishnan (04-May-2009, 6:59:00 PM)  

    Truly, it is a very early call to decide who would be the semi-finalists for the 2009 IPL Cup.

    But one thing for sure is that the best teams would be competing in the semi-final matches, as they say may the best man win.

    As IPL gets over then there is another cricket fever that will strike the world and that is the t20 world cup in England that is scheduled to start from June 5th.

    Wish it was in India, I could have managed to see the live match here. But, England is too far. I wish I could somehow manage it there.

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    By Blogger Aditya iyer (08-May-2009, 7:22:00 PM)  

    Hey you need to update your forecast for the semi final line up for the IPL. You can look at mine at www.thecricketnation.com - i think its going to be Delhi, Chennai, Rajasthan and Punjab. But still very close as Deccan is doing well and Mumbai might just squeeze in.

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    By Anonymous Tony (11-May-2009, 2:00:00 PM)  

    Hi I truly believe that the semi final line up is going to be exciting. With Deccan, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan all fighting for the last two places. It is going to be exciting.

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    We'd prefer if you posted comments with your real name to add more credibility to your opinions. However, the moderators reserve the right to delete comments, especially those containing offensive or unsuitable language. The opinions in the comments are your own views. You are welcome to provide a URL to your own cricket blog, but the moderators reserve the right to delete comments which only reference sites for viewing live streams.

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