The Power Rankings - Episode 3

How teams stack up given their results so far, their best youngster and veteran, and their upcoming schedules

The Power Rankings - Episode 3

This post is brought to you by Cricket8. We’ll be writing there throughout the IPL. Plus there are podcasts and live watchalongs.

This is your power list, searching through the garbage bins of your favourite team to work out what is really happening. This is not a points table and I guarantee I hate your favourite team as much as I hate everyone else’s. 

We are looking at strength of schedule, quality of results, how the XIs (or twelves now) line up when working out who goes where, before finally throwing darts at a board just to annoy you. 

CSK was the tricky team this week. You could make an argument for them being as low as fourth, we went well above that. And it’s a mess down at the bottom as well. 

  1. Rajasthan Royals

Recent record: 1-1 (L v GT, W @PBKS)

RR still looks like the best team in the league. However, they lost a game they should have won against GT. They were ahead of the game till the 18th over of the second innings, but ended up losing the plot to Rashid Khan and Rahul Tewatia. The match against Punjab was a lot closer than it should have been. But when you consider the fact that they won despite Jos Buttler, Nandre Burger, R Ashwin and Sandeep Sharma, that makes it pretty impressive.

Best youngster: Riyan Parag

Riyan Parag has scored 284 runs at 71/155 – easily his most productive IPL season till date. He has repaid the faith the team management had in his abilities, consistently rescuing RR from precarious situations this season.

Best veteran: Keshav Maharaj

Not a lot of people would have expected Maharaj to get a game in a team with Ashwin and Chahal as the primary spinners. His figures across two games read 2/39 in six overs, including a match-winning spell against Punjab.

Upcoming fixtures: @KKR, v MI, @LSG

If they can split the away games and win against Mumbai at home, they will be on track. But they need more runs from their openers, and hope that injuries don’t affect their campaign.

  1. Chennai Super Kings

Recent record: 2-0 (W v KKR, W @MI)

They lost two on the trot before this week, so there were concerns. But they’ve bounced back strongly with a couple of wins again. It was very important to win the match against KKR, because it was at home. MI looked on course to chase down 207 at home, but Pathirana created a massive difference. Deshpande and Shardul also bowled two brilliant overs when the required run rate was high but not impossible to climb. Dube is still hitting a lot of boundaries, and Gaikwad has also found some form.

Best youngster: Matheesha Pathirana

Pathirana has figures of 8/88 in 12 overs this season. Eight of those overs have come after the 14th over mark. He bowls the toughest overs, nobody can hit him, and he keeps taking wickets.

Best veteran: Mustafizur Rahman

The Fizz has taken 10 wickets at an economy rate of 9.15. He has been on the expensive side, and picked up a lot of wickets. It makes sense because half of his overs have been in the 17-20 over phase.

Upcoming fixtures: @LSG, v LSG, v SRH

They have two home games, but all three teams are tricky. They won’t have it that easy, so a 2-1 run would mean they have done well.

  1. Kolkata Knight Riders

Recent record: 1-1 (L @CSK, W v LSG)

KKR actually had a great powerplay (56/1) against CSK despite losing Phil Salt off the first delivery. However, Ravindra Jadeja ensured that they would never be able to recover after he took three wickets in his first eight deliveries. Against LSG, Mitchell Starc took three wickets and they knocked off the chase with more than four overs in hand. Salt and Shreyas Iyer batted at contrasting speeds to take them home.

Best youngster: Harshit Rana

Harshit Rana’s overall figures read 5/107 in 12 overs across three matches. It may not look pretty, but he has bowled four of those overs at the death (overs 17-20). He bowled a memorable final over against SRH, and managed to concede less than 10 runs per over at the Chinnaswamy.

Best veteran: Sunil Narine

Most of us thought the Narine opening experiment was dead. Not KKR, though. He has opened in all games this season, scoring 167 runs in five innings at 42/183. The fact that he also has five wickets at less than seven runs an over makes him pretty handy.

Upcoming fixtures: v RR, v RCB, v PBKS

They have three home games, two of them against teams in the bottom half of the table. They should come out 2-1 from this three game run.

  1. Sunrisers Hyderabad

Recent record: 1-0 (W @PBKS)

SRH ended up posting 182/7 despite struggling at 64/4 in the 10th over because of Nitish Kumar Reddy’s 64 off 37. Even though they actually took three wickets in the Powerplay to derail the hosts in the run chase, Shashank and Ashutosh gave them a scare in the death overs.

Best youngster: Abhishek Sharma

Abhishek Sharma is the second-quickest scoring batter in the season behind Andre Russell among batters that have faced at least 50 balls. He has scored 177 runs at an average of 35 and a strike rate of 208. He has consistently given quick starts at the top of the order.

Best veteran: Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins can do no wrong. After being the best Test bowler and a 50 over World Cup-winning skipper, the man has now decided to crack the shortest format. He has picked up 6 wickets at an economy of 7.30 – the second-best after Jasprit Bumrah among pacers with at least 10 overs this season. 

Upcoming fixtures: @RCB, @DC, v RCB

They face RCB twice and Delhi once – probably the best set of fixtures a team could ask for at this point in the league. If they win all three, their chances of qualification would increase massively. A loss would not be ideal, but it would not be a big worry.

  1. Lucknow Super Giants

Recent record: 0-2 (L v DC, L @KKR)

LSG had defended all targets above 160 in the IPL before these two matches. And it was not even close – they lost with 11 and 26 balls to spare respectively. They also played these two matches with just a one day gap in between, which included travel from Lucknow to Kolkata.

Best youngster: Mayank Yadav

It is not a surprise that Mayank Yadav has been the talk of the town. Well, who doesn’t want to watch an express pacer steaming in? He took six wickets in his first two matches at an economy of slightly above five. But he bowled just one over against Gujarat, and has not played the next two matches. Managing his fitness would be extremely important for the team management.

Best veteran: Krunal Pandya

Even though Krunal Pandya has gone for a few in the last couple of matches, he has had impact performances with both bat and ball – 3/11 in four overs vs Gujarat, 0/19 in four overs vs Rajasthan & an unbeaten 43 off 22 balls vs Punjab.

Upcoming fixtures:  v CSK, @ CSK, v RR

They have two home games, but all three are against top teams. This run of fixtures will play a big role in deciding how their campaign goes.

  1. Gujarat Titans

Recent record: 1-0 (W @RR)

Gujarat needed 83 off the last six overs against an RR bowling lineup. They pulled off yet another classic in a run chase, just like the last two seasons. Gill played a brilliant innings, while Rashid and Tewatia gave it the finishing touches and took them home.

Best youngster: Noor Ahmad

The left-arm wrist spinner has taken 3 wickets in 4 matches at an economy rate of 8.06. According to our true metrics, he concedes 0.27 runs per over less than the average bowler would, but takes 0.14 wickets less per four overs.

Best veteran: Mohit Sharma

Mohit Sharma started off brilliantly in the first three matches, where he picked up 6 wickets at an economy of 7.77. However, in the next three matches he has conceded more than 11 runs per over while taking just 2 wickets. His overall returns are still better than what you’d expect, plus he’s bowling a lot more in the middle and death overs.

Upcoming fixtures: v DC, @PBKS, @DC

They have relatively easier fixtures coming up. They could win all three, but they should at least win at home and split the two games away.

  1. Mumbai Indians

Recent record: 1-1  (W v RCB, L v CSK)

They absolutely decimated RCB, but lost the plot against their arch-rivals CSK. Their bowling continues to be a massive concern, despite Jasprit Bumrah – the best bowler in the competition. 

Best youngster: Ishan Kishan

Ishan Kishan has been an absolute beast in the Powerplay, scoring 146 runs at 49/183. He has not really been able to kick on in the middle overs, but he’s doing the job of an attacking opener at the top of the order.

Best veteran: Rohit Sharma

There will be a lot of discussion on Rohit’s hundred in the next few days. However, his performances this season have been very good. He has scored 261 runs at 52/167. In the Powerplay, his strike rate of 177 is even better. He was just not doing well with the bat since 2017, so Mumbai will be extremely happy with these returns from their former skipper.

Upcoming fixtures: @PBKS, @RR, @DC

They need to win at least two of the three matches on the road if they want to have an outside chance of qualifying. 

  1. Punjab Kings

Recent record: 0-2 (L v SRH, L v RR)

Punjab Kings have been on the wrong side of a close game twice in a row. If we also include the RCB game, they could have been level on points with GT and LSG if they won just one of these three games. However, there are obvious flaws in their team. 

Best youngster: Ashutosh Sharma

Ashutosh Sharma has been one of the fastest scoring batters so far in the tournament with 95 runs off just 48 deliveries. You could say Shashank has been more valuable among their new finds, but he’s 32.

Best veteran: Kagiso Rabada

Kagiso Rabada’s form was a point of concern in IPL 2023. However, he’s picked up 9 wickets at an economy rate of 7.95 this season. He has been used as an all-phase option, and the South African pacer has not let them down.

Upcoming fixtures: v MI, v GT,  @KKR

KKR away will be a tricky one, so they should try to win both their matches at home.

  1. Delhi Capitals

Recent record: 1-1 (L @MI, W @LSG)

Delhi’s bowling was all over the place against MI. But you could argue that it was the final over of the innings that took the game away from them once and for all. Kuldeep Yadav’s comeback meant that they finally had a good game with the ball, but they still allowed LSG to recover from 94/7 to 167/7 in the last seven overs. Jake Fraser-McGurk scored a fifty on his IPL debut, with Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw chipping in with valuable contributions.

Best youngster: Tristan Stubbs

Tristan Stubbs has scored 189 runs in 6 innings at a strike rate of 190.9, while averaging 63. He has played three noteworthy knocks so far, all of which have unfortunately ended up in a losing cause. Fraser-McGurk is another young talent to watch out for.

Best veteran: David Warner

Delhi is a young team, so naturally the likes of Warner and Ishant would fit the criteria of veterans. Unfortunately, neither of the two have been particularly impressive so far. But you’d have to pick Warner’s 166 runs at 28/138 over Ishant leaking runs at more than 10 runs per over. He does have a couple of good knocks, but he’s been short of runs in the last few matches.

Upcoming fixtures: @GT, v SRH, v GT

They play Gujarat both home and away. They would need at least two wins in these three games to think they are alive in the competition.

  1. Royal Challengers Bengaluru

Recent record: 0-1 (L v MI)

RCB’s loss against Mumbai was not an ordinary one. The hosts ended up chasing 197 with 27 balls in hand. That led to Faf admitting that they do not have enough “weapons in their bowling” and that their batters would have to look for bigger scores to make up for it.

Best youngster: Yash Dayal

Dayal has not been particularly great, but 5/158 in 19 overs does not sound bad. He went at 6 RPO or less in two matches, picked up a wicket each in all five matches. However, he was still dropped against MI. You could argue Mahipal Lomror should be on here, but he has played just three innings.

Best veteran: Dinesh Karthik

DK really turned up in his 2022 avatar, scoring 143 runs at a strike rate of 190.7 with just one dismissal. He played an impactful knock in their only win against PBKS, and failed to get going in just one match against LSG.

Upcoming fixtures: v SRH, @ KKR, @ SRH

It is that time of the year again. RCB fans have their calculators out already. They have to win all three games if they genuinely want to keep their hopes alive for a potential playoff spot. Mathematically speaking, they would be in contention with 2-1 too, but that would mean a lot of must-win games in a row.