IPL 2023, Mid-Season Review: Balanced Gujarat Titans aim for back-to-back trophies; CSK, RR, LSG fighting hard.
The sixteenth season of Indian Premier League (IPL), at the halfway stage, has displayed some perfect batting and bowling performances along with electrifying fielding to produce some nail-biting contests.
Out of the first 43 games, 12 matches have turned out to be close finishes where teams have won by 15 runs or less. There have been 42 instances where team have posted 180+ totals in 86 innings which speaks about the aggressive mindset of the batters.
The defending champions Gujarat Titans stand at the top after 43 games with six victories in eight games of IPL 2023.
Let’s take a look at all the ten franchises and how they have shaped out after the first half of the season.
Another promising season for Gujarat Titans with all-round contributions
The defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) have begun their second IPL season from where they left it in 2022. The whole team shouldering on all-round performances from batters and bowlers have displayed enough promise. The calm atmosphere under the coaching of Ashish Nehra and Gary Kirsten has also shaped the team in a good way as most of the players are contributing in the team’s victories.
One of the biggest positives for them in this season has been the terrific performance of Vijay Shankar who after a cold season last year has turned the table in the new season with 199 runs in six games at a strike rate of 165.83. Abhinav Manohar in his few chances has also been terrific with a strike rate of 182.98, but their captain Hardik Pandya’s form might be a little worry for them who after a fabulous last year has added just 154 runs in seven games at a strike rate of 119.38.
However, their consistency and playing as a team looks to push them among the top four teams of the season.
KL Rahul’s low strike rate with poor home record creating problems for Lucknow Super Giants
After their fiery beginning in this edition with three victories in the first four games, Lucknow Super Giants have struggled a little specially in home conditions, playing on the slow and sharp spinning track there. One of the brightest spots for them is the aggressive batting of Kyle Mayers who has nailed 297 runs in nine games at a strike rate of 158.82, while the middle order consisting of Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran has also fired at crucial stages to take them out of danger.
In terms of worries, LSG captain KL Rahul’s low strike rate comes in this bracket who has scored 274 runs in nine games at a strike rate of just 113.22. In the bowling department, Mark Wood began the season on fire but some injury scares have ruled him out of action for a while now. They are actually missing two good India pacers and Mohsin Khan’s injury hasn’t helped them at all.
Superb hostile batting saving Chennai Super Kings despite poor bowling
Looking at the squad of the four-time champions, Chennai Super Kings, it looked like they would be having another poor season but they have portrayed their team in a different way. Their batting has been top notch where Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad have given them great starts in most of the games while Ajinkya Rahane with a strike rate of 189.83 and Shivam Dube with a strike rate of 158.08 coming in the middle order have also kept the firecrackers burning.
The captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been undoubtedly impressive too who has planned and used his young bowling resources excellently. The only frustrating section for them is their death over bowling where they have leaked too many runs. However, they look really good to have another season to end up among the top four sides.
Inconsistent bowling and batting have let down Rajasthan Royals in crunch moments
The inaugural edition champions Rajasthan Royals began their season in an expressive way with four wins in their first five games, but since then some poor batting and bowling has let them down as they lost their three out of their next four games.
Jos Buttler who cracked 863 runs in 17 games at a strike rate of 149.05 during the last season, has struggled a little of late with 289 runs in nine games at a strike rate of 138.94. Sanju Samson too has been at odds in this season with just 212 runs in nine games at a strike rate of 150.35. However, their young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal has been fantastic with 428 runs at a strike rate of 159.70, besides getting full support from Dhruv Jurel and Shimron Hetmyer, who has a strike rate of 155.30 in this season.
RR’s bowling has been decent too where Sandeep Sharma has picked up few important wickets with the new ball while Ravichandran Ashwin has displayed his magic with 13 wickets in nine games at an economy of 7.22. All in all, they are on the road to another top four finish.
Over-dependent on top three, Royal Challengers Bangalore look promising with superb bowling attack
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) who finished the last season among the top four has looked good for same sort of goals this time around. They didn’t have a great start in the season with three loses in five games but they have pulled it back with three victories in the last four games.
One of the positives for them is the golden form of their captain Faf du Plessis, the leading run-scorer of the season so far with 466 runs in nine games at a strike rate of 159.59, backed up beautifully by Virat Kohli’s 364 runs and Maxwell’s 262 runs at a strike rate of 183.22. Mohammed Siraj has also led the bowling department from the front with 15 wickets in nine games at an economy of 7.37.
But the middle order hasn’t fired yet and the over-dependence on the upper order has put some pressure on them in order to provide them a good finish while apart from Siraj, other bowlers too need to put their hands up.
Story of inconsistent batting and lack of form of star players puts Mumbai Indians behind
Since their fifth IPL trophy, Mumbai Indians haven’t looked the same balanced side anymore. After a slow start, they looked to fly high but have again gone downwards. One of the reasons for their inconsistent batting is their captain Rohit Sharma’s form who hasn’t been among runs again. Last time when Rohit scored 450+ runs in a season, the year was 2016. Jofra Archer too has been off with his consistent injuries.
The positives for them is the growth of Tilak Varma who has managed 248 runs in eight games at a strike rate of 152.15 while Cameron Green has smacked 243 runs at a strike rate of 152.83. Tim David too has fired in the lower order with a strike rate of 169.89. But they need their batting unit to click as a team.
Inexperience hurting Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings haven’t looked consistent throughout this season. The team looks to be asking too much from their young and inexperienced players. Among the positives, Shikhar Dhawan’s form has been terrific scoring 262 runs in six games at an average of 65.50 and strike rate of 148.86 but the other batters haven’t looked in the same touch.
Sikandar Raza has done well in this format but he too doesn’t have much experience of playing in India. Jitesh Sharma and Shahrukh Khan have hit the ball well but the lack of proper India national players has made them struggle. A little more maturity among players could have won the little moments in the game which has kept the results on the wrong side of their reach.
Struggling bowling department has put Kolkata Knight Riders at the bottom-half
Apart from few good performances in some of the games, Kolkata Knight Riders haven’t done much in this season. Except their one win against RCB at their home ground, the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, KKR have lost three back-to-back home games. Venkatesh Iyer has looked good for his 296 runs in nine games at a strike rate of 148.74 while Nitish Rana too has managed 233 runs at a strike rate of 152.29. Rinku Singh and Andre Russell too have batted well in few of their games.
But whatever good things the batting has achieved, the bowling has spoiled it. Umesh Yadav has just one wicket in eight games at an economy of 9.95 while Sunil Narine too has looked off for his seven wickets in nine games at an economy of 8.81, The other pacers too haven’t done much and KKR’s journey towards the playoffs is under dark clouds.
An outstanding team on paper but poor show on the field for Sunrisers Hyderabad
Looking at their team after the auction, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) looked set for a playoff spot but the season seems to have gone downwards for them. Their bowling has looked in decent shape while Abhishek Sharma and Heinrich Klassen too have shown some colourful performances but the team is yet to fire as a bunch.
Except his century, Harry Brook has nothing to display and his batting position too hasn’t been decided. Rahul Tripathi and Mayank Agarwal have also struggled while injuries and baseless changes have put them under pressure.
Unreasonable decisions, poor batting and bowling castigate Delhi Capitals to the bottom
Neither their batting nor their bowling have helped them in this season. The only standout performance for Delhi Capitals so far is Axar Patel who has 211 runs in eight games at a strike rate of 142.57. David Warner has scored 306 runs in eight games but his strike rate of 118.60 hasn’t made him scary. No one apart from these two in the batting has clicked in this season.
Their bowling department too has the same story. Kuldeep Yadav has been inconsistent in his performance and hasn’t been backed up by other bowlers.
With just two wins in eight games, their season has almost ended unless a miracle occurs in the second half.
IPL 2023 Points Table
The final of IPL 2023 will be played on May 28 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.