Punjab at the moment looks in complete control and is the only unbeaten team in the IPL so far this season. They just seem to have the players that can play in any conditions. A lot of credit should be given to coach Sanjay Bangar as he is shaped up a winning team from scratch. Kings XI Punjab has not been a team that has worried the opponents over the years. But, everyone has stood up and taken notice as they have now won four out of four matches. They completely thrashed Hyderabad, once again thanks to a fantastic knock by Maxwell. The real test so far for Punjab came against Kolkota when Maxwell did not fire and the team posted a low total. But, the bowlers did exceptionally well and restricted the KKR batsmen and won the match. This just shows they have good bowlers to back their batsmen. It will be difficult for the other teams to catch up with them if they continue their form.
At the end of the spectrum lies Mumbai Indians, who crashed to defeats against Chennai and Delhi Daredevils. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mumbai batsmen are just not getting it right in the IPL so far. Mohit Sharma troubled the Mumbai batsmen in the match against Chennai and the Mumbai batsmen were in self destruct mode against Delhi. Micheal Hussey has been the biggest culprit as he is eating up too many balls and stalling the momentum be it batting first or chasing. He was supposed to lead the top of the batting order in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar but he has been a liability. The good part is that Pollard has come into some form which will help Mumbai Indians in the coming matches. I expect a good fight back from Mumbai in the next few matches especially since three out of the next four matches will be played in Mumbai.
At current form, Chennai and Rajasthan are the teams that are most likely to pose a challenge to Punjab. Chennai has once again got back to winning habits and reached the second spot on the table after languishing at the seventh spot in the initial stage of the tournament. They have done well even in the absence of Dwayne Bravo. Dwayne Smith and McCullum are proving to be the most dangerous opening pair of the tournament. In the absence of Hussey, Chennai has only benefitted as these two are providing consistent starts that is so crucial in T20 cricket. Ashwin and Jadeja are exploiting the conditions well in UAE and Mohit Sharma has been consistent as well. They have a strong bowling unit which complements their batting well. They had a huge win over Delhi and managed to keep calm and register easy wins over Rajasthan and Mumbai on their way towards the top of the table. Dwayne Smith is not far behind Maxwell in the race for the orange cap so things only look good for Chennai at the moment.
Rajasthan have reached the third position but they have to play well to maintain the spot. They completely outclassed Bangalore shooting them out for a mere 70 runs in their last match. The bowling is the plus point for Rajasthan and they can be a big threat if their batting delivers as well. Delhi is in seventh spot after having just beaten Mumbai thanks to a good knock from their captain Pietersen. They still have a lot of work to do if they want to over KKR and Bangalore in fourth and fifth positions respectively.