The IPL so far (part 2)

We're heading into the latter stages of the IPL - and by that I mean there are only 20ish games to go and just over two weeks left! In other words, it's the perfect time to speculate on things such as whether Ganguly's imminent retirement to the bench is temporary, or if Shane Watson thinks he is competing with Dale Steyn as a bowler, or if James Franklin holds the secret recipe to the best vada pav ever. I'd pick him for every game too, if he possessed such secrets.

Or, you know, who is likely to make the - er - playoffs. I didn't pay much attention last year, but from what I understand, the top two sides will play a warped game that will turn out to be a virtual semifinal for its winner (let's call them D for neutrality) and a virtual quarterfinal for its loser (K). The sides placed third and fourth will play a virtual quarterfinal - the winner gets to play another virtual semifinal against K, and the loser is out for good. The winner of this game goes through to the final to face D. Simple, really. This is the table as I write this:


So, who's going to the playoffs?

The Certain

If these two sides mess up from here, they deserve to be surrounded by bowling machines and be bombarded. Without protection. (Why isn't this a recognized punishment? I'll have to become a coach one day just to try this method.)

Delhi Daredevils are having the kind of season that they used to have way back in the day, when the IPL was still a child in Lalit Modi's arms. Before Child Services the BCCI became more involved.

Anyway, all they really have to focus on now is that first qualifier and the final.They have way too good a squad to think about anything less than winning the whole thing. Their remaining games are two tough ones against Bangalore and Chennai, and two games they should win against Punjab. With Warner having found his feet already (he didn't have to look too hard, really), it only really takes one of their batsman to fire to get a big score. One thing they have to sort out is one end of their new-ball bowling: Irfan Pathan is a conspicuous weak link in an excellent attack.

"Were you just talking about me? I heard my name."
Get back inside, Irfan.

Kolkata have a tough set of matches to come: a home game against Chennai and then two against Mumbai, a team they have historically struggled against. History, of course, means nothing in a T20 - KKR look a lot better equipped to hang on to second place. They need to find runs in the middle order though - early wickets may not be the worst thing for them, giving the middle order more exposure ahead of the playoffs. Once they've secured their place, that is. Gambhir and Narine's consistency will continue to be crucial.

The Scrappy Five

"Hey, look! The blimp's back!" "No, that's the Ambani kid..."

Just three points separate Bangalore (#3) and Punjab (#7). RCB and MI look the most likely to qualify for the eliminator, but you can never rule out Chennai, who have finished in the top 4 so often that they are now paying rent. Just look at last year, when they scraped through. Faf du Plessis' return could not come soon enough for them (as well as Raina's form), and their fast bowling issues look repaired for now with Hilfenhaus' arrival.

"I really hope your team makes it!" "Thanks, I hope my team makes it too!"

The dark horses in this race are Rajasthan and Punjab. RR have managed their meager resources well all season, but their batsmen are suddenly looking scratchy. One final push, perhaps? Rahane's form will be important, and similarly, Mandeep Singh's for Punjab. Consistent aggression at the top of the order has been an invaluable catalyst for both sides.

If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on MI and RCB getting into the eliminator ahead of CSK, who may just have left it too late.

If you're a betting man (or woman, I don't judge. if you are a woman reading this blog, let me know so I can give myself a high-five), and you enjoy games involving money, a good place to start is Sportsbook Casino. You would want to study some sportsbook reviews first before placing a bet on any team. You wouldn't want to spend your hard earned money without proper knowledge of the game odds and how the whole system works.

If you need to understand the game better before indulging yourself, read some relevant news on gambling and sports betting and it wouldn't hurt to know some casino strategies also. Some of you maybe already familiar with it because they are very similar, but for a broader knowledge and added info you can always have a peek and study it. You know, if you want to.

The Doomed

Buh-bye, Deccan and Pune. One fell into the trap of poor form and loss of momentum that they never recovered from (despite Dhawan, White and Dale freaking Steyn), the other fell into a KKR-ish portal full of poor selection, awful batting, and Ganguly issues. All they can do now is ruin things for everyone else and give untested players a go. Use this as a guide, teams.