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HomeSportsIndian Premier League: Mid-Season Review

Indian Premier League: Mid-Season Review

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Editor’s Note: Standing of Teams in Points Table as of April 22.

Cricket is a widely popular sport, played both internationally and in National Premier Leagues around the world. The game is played in many different formats, with the most popular being the Twenty20, better known as T20, format in which each of the two match innings has twenty overs, described in further detail below.

A cricket match consists of two teams with 11 players each. Similar to baseball, one team is the batting team for one inning — or the first half — of the game, while the other team is pitching — or bowling — before the teams switch. The team batting first sets a target score of a certain number of runs, which can be considered as points that they need to defend when they bowl in the second inning. If the opposing team batting second achieves this score, then the opponent wins the match. 

A single throw of the ball by a bowler towards the batsman is called a delivery, and a bowler bowls six deliveries. These six deliveries make up an “over.” After the conclusion of an over, the bowler then switches and a new person bowls another over.

In the T20 format of the game, a single game consists of two “innings.” A bowler can bowl up to five overs in the inning but cannot bowl two of the same overs back-to-back. Each inning consists of 20 overs before the teams switch. The team who was bowling during the first innings then bats to achieve the score set by the team that batted in the first inning, while the latter now bowls. A batsman can keep batting until he gets out.

In cricket, a batsman is out if the ball hits the three stumps behind the batter or when the batter hits the ball directly in the air and it is caught by a fielder of the team that is bowling. An optimal team usually consists of a mix of batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders, which are people who are good at both bowling and batting.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the National Cricket League played annually in India, similar to the NFL. Premiering in 2008, the league has grown since its inception and currently consists of 10 teams. One unique feature of the league is its inclusion of international players, allowing a team to have up to four international players in the playing 11. The teams are named after major cities in India and the 10 teams playing this year in order of their current standing in the points table from top to bottom are:

Rajasthan Royals

Lucknow Super Giants

Chennai Super Kings

Gujarat Titans

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Mumbai Indians

Punjab Kings

Kolkata Knight Riders

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Delhi Capitals 

Each team is led by a team captain who can play any position. 

The Gujarat Titans are the defending champions this year, winning the league last year in their IPL debut. Their victory was received with little surprise, as the team was well-balanced with a good mix of batsmen, bowlers and a few handy all-rounders. Balancing all types of players is crucial to the success of a cricket team, as demonstrated by the Titans last season. 

This season the Titans have had a strong start to the league, but have faltered in the last few matches. As potential opponents, the Mumbai Indians are the most successful team in the history of the IPL, having won the title five times since the start of the league. However, their last win came in 2020 and their current mid-standing in the league is evidence of their on-and-off performance. 

Meanwhile, the Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore have some of the largest fan followings in the league. The Super Kings have won the league four times and their captain, MS Dhoni, is one of the most iconic players of the sport — not just in the IPL, but in all formats of international cricket. He was the captain of the Indian team for ten years from 2007 till 2017 and is nicknamed “Captain Cool” for his calm and composed nature, irrespective of the pressure or situation during any match.

The Challengers are headed by Virat Kohli, a star international batsman and the captain of the Indian team for many years after Dhoni stepped down as captain. Kohli and Dhoni played together for India in international games a significant time before Dhoni retired from international cricket. The Challengers, however, have not found much success in the last 15 years of the IPL, still searching for their first title. Despite this, they continue to have a major fan following, with fans still holding onto hopes of a turn-around performance this year. 

Since the start of the league last month, the league has been pretty evenly matched with no one team standing out from the rest. The Royals, Super Giants, Super Kings and the Titans occupy the top four positions of the league as the mid-season approaches. If these teams maintain their positions in the top four, they will progress onto the qualifiers, where the first two teams will compete in the first qualifier match for a spot in the final.

Afterwards, the third and fourth-ranking teams will compete in an eliminator match for a chance to compete with the loser of the first qualifier. The winner of the eliminator match and the loser of the first qualifier will then compete in the second qualifier, and the winner will face the winner of the first qualifier for the final match of the league.

With the race to the end ramping up, it remains to be seen if the current top four will manage to hold onto their positions, or if an underdog team, in the form of either the Delhi Capitals or the Kolkata Knight Riders, will manage to earn a spot in the top four and cause a major shakeup in the hierarchy. Anything can happen, it’s cricket.

Ishan Varshney is an Arts & Entertainment Intern for the spring 2023 quarter. He can be reached at ivarshne@uci.edu.