The IPL so far

When it comes to the history of the IPL, the young ones will never know why Go Chargers is the greatest song in cricket or what to do with a franchise that changed hands with a fresh paint job. 

The IPL so far

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This is the win percentage of every team in the IPL in each year. Thus, it is the story of the tournament so far. For instance, this tiny triangle up here is Kochi. They played one season. That was it, we never saw them again after they failed to provide a bank guarantee. For those of us who only know of places through cricket, Kochi ceased to exist.

That is what a graph like this shows us - the history, often forgotten or ignored from our sport. And that leads me to one of the greatest questions in the IPL. How many titles have the Sunrisers Hyderabad won? 

Because we know that the actual team has won a championship, but what do we do with the Deccan Chargers title in 2009? Because this is not the same franchise, right? They have two owners and different names. But the second group inherited their squad from the original owners, kept the team in the same city, and only updated the colours and logo. Many fans from Hyderabad count both, but the Sunrisers only show one star around their logo. 

When it comes to the history of the IPL, the young ones will never know why Go Chargers is the greatest song in cricket or what to do with a franchise that changed hands with a fresh paint job. 

A lot has happened in the IPL in a very short period. 

Let us start with the bottom. That is the Rajasthan Royals. The platonic friendzone team that started as a title winner, then went mid for years. Just when they seemed to be doing better, they were suspended for fixing reasons. They came back to be mid again. 

You can see that the entire map sags from the suspension. And that is also where we get two new teams: the Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions. They just tuned up. They were the substitute teachers of the IPL. It didn’t matter how well they did; no one was really listening. 

It also confirmed that Pune is the most cursed IPL city, because this was the second time a team had turned up there. The first time, they had three seasons, and about the same number of wins. The second time they were doing better, but then they finished completely. 

The sag, or saga of fixing, is another incredible part of the IPL history. Two of the original teams, who had won three out of eight of the first titles, were suspended for fixing crimes. Chennai has five titles and two years not playing, which is no less amazing and stupid when you really think about what it means. 

What else can we see? Let us go back to 2021, when the Sunrisers were terrible. A team that most of us saw as a consistent threat ripped up everything. That year Rashid Khan was their star, World Cup winner Trevor Bayliss was coach, and David Warner was their captain. The next year it was Kane Williamson and Tom Moody as captain and coach (both of whom had done the job before). Then Aiden Markram and Brian Lara. And now Dan Vettori with Pat Cummins. I point all this out to show how fat their win percentage used to be until they started screwing with their plans every single year. 

2021 is an interesting year on here because you also have Delhi’s best year, winning 71% of their matches. They also did something similar in 2009. This means that twice in their history they have huge winning seasons but no trophy. Kolkata and Chennai have never won that many games in the regular season, and they have seven cups combined. 

But it isn’t just those two years, look at this big fat bit from 2019 until 2021, that is an awful lot of winning to again, not take home a trophy. You can also see their first five seasons have more than just 2009. They have grouped wins together over seasons, put in great runs, and they have won nothing. 

The team underneath is RCB, and you can see they have not had great periods like that. They have had two 64% winning seasons though. Perhaps the season they should have won was in 2011, when they went nine and four. Overall, they are a sub-50% win team in the competition, but they have a higher success rate than Delhi overall.

What might grate more with those teams is that other sides have won the trophy with fairly ordinary records. Both Mumbai and Sunrisers won back-to-back in 2015 and 2016 with 57% win seasons, eight and six. 

That is nothing compared to Chennai stealing their first trophy with a 50% record. That was back in the days when getting the top two spots didn’t help as much. But even then, Chennai was third with a 50% record due to the incredible clump of mediocre teams. 

But other than their incredible ability to win trophies, you can see how consistent they have been. Compare that to Mumbai, who have the same amount of trophies - and a similar win percentage - but not as consistent a colour streak through here. 

If you go a little higher, you can see Kolkata, another team with multiple trophies and again not the kind of wins that Chennai have. They are only at 51% wins, and even the years where they won, they never had the kind of fat band that Delhi had a few years back. 

They now look more like Rajasthan, a mid-team with some early success. They haven’t been a repeat contender for a long time. In the last five years, they haven’t been above 50% in any season. 

The two best teams in the last couple of years have been the newcomers. That is quite something, especially seeing as we can see other sides like the Pune Warriors India, and Kochi Tuskers Kerala didn’t do anything like that. Perhaps this suggests these were better-organised franchises, or just luck. But it’s still incredible for Gujarat Titans to win a title in year one. Expansion teams are usually rubbish. 

Two of my favourite teams are in the middle. Let’s start with the Punjab Kings, or Kings XI Punjab. They have a pretty dire record, 44% wins. Only Delhi of the current teams have been worse. But like the Daredevil Capitals, they have had incredible years. If you are looking for something that breaks hearts, it is this year, 2014 Punjab. They won 78% of their games, and no cup. They haven’t really been close since. 

And right on top of them here is the Mumbai Indians. A team with five titles in eight years. Remember when people suggested that the mega auction would make the league more even? Them and Chennai sort of suggest otherwise. The other 13 teams have six titles, and the two main ones have ten. 

It seems an awfully long time since the start of the IPL when Mumbai were the punchline because they couldn’t win anything. There are people who look back at that period and don’t even consider it that important, like the IPL’s version of playing against plumbers and bus drivers. 

But every story needs to start somewhere.