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MI to DC: Who is the best T20 team midway into the season

With Indian T20 League reaching the midway point with every side finishing seven league games, we try to identify the best T20 team that has emerged from the difficult and unfamiliar conditions that the players were thrown into in Dubai.

Here’s rating every Indian T20 League franchise till date and finding out who the best T20 team is.

 

TEAM MUMBAI – 7/10

Despite the two defeats that Mumbai have seen in this season so far, the four-time champions have made a near-perfect start to their campaign at the Indian T20 League.

Mumbai’s opening day loss to Chennai, although one-sided, could easily be attributed to the team acclimatizing with UAE conditions because the Rohit-Sharma led side has hardly put a foot wrong since then. Mumbai’s super-over loss to Bangalore in Dubai managed to unlock the only aspect that the management feared would take time after months of COVID-19 break – temperament.

Mumbai have won five of their initial seven matches and they have got the combination right early in the season, something most teams have struggled with.

 

TEAM CHENNAI – 2/10

There were adequate reasons for Chennai to fail this season at the Indian T20 League. Though Indian cricket fans hoped for MS Dhoni to get things right amidst the adversity, the skipper has unfortunately failed to live up.

Starting in a typical Chennai manner, where a depleted squad overcame Mumbai’s challenge in an alien venue, Chennai tried hard to hang on thereafter but that wasn’t the case. The 16-run loss to Rajasthan, where late heroics from Dhoni and Faf du Plessis almost swung the game on Chennai’s side, was the breaking point.

Following that Chennai’s only win – a 10-wicket one – came against Punjab while the team has seemingly withered away against other opponents. There isn’t one shortcoming to point at as Chennai’s chances of pulling a playoff finish look very slim.

 

TEAM BANGALORE – 5/10

Amongst most things that have been unusual this year, Bangalore are one. They have shown a grit unfound in previous seasons of the Indian T20 League. Virat Kohli’s men have managed to outsmart teams like Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, against whom the side has always struggled in the past.

While moving away from the spin-friendly Indian pitches to the desert conditions have seemingly worked in Bangalore’s favour, their campaign has mostly been AB de Villiers so far. Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal‘s renewed magic with the ball have been pleasantly surprising as well.

However, the massive 97-runs and 59-runs losses to Punjab and Delhi, respectively, have also shown that the side can crumble very easily. Hence, holding optimism together will remain Virat Kohli’s biggest challenge.

 

TEAM KOLKATA – 5/10

Kolkata were the winners when the Indian T20 League was last held in UAE. However, while there was every reason to be excited for the management for their past record, they knew their biggest loophole was identifying the right man to lead.

Dinesh Karthik had been a mixed bag with his captaincy in the past two seasons and bringing in Eoin Morgan further muddled things for Kolkata. A heaving opening day loss to Mumbai meant questions were further raised on similar lines, before their talent came to rescue.

Kolkata have beaten Hyderabad, Rajasthan, Chennai, and Punjab, which saw the team’s performance and Karthik’s shrewd captaincy going hand in hand. But their heavy losses to Mumbai and Bangalore have exposed the brittle condition the squad is still in.

 

TEAM DELHI – 7/10

With a proven Gautam Gambhir stepping away midway into the season and a young Shreyas Iyer being put in charge, Delhi’s transformation couldn’t have been any more chaotic. But the management believed in their sustainable model and Ricky Ponting.

It started paying dividends last year as Delhi finished in the playoffs, and the side looks ready to change gear this time. Having won five of their seven games, Delhi are the only team looking ready to challenge Mumbai at the top of the table.

From Kagiso Rabada’s lethal bowling to a consistently performing batting top-order, Delhi now know exactly what everyone’s role is. From Chennai to Bangalore to Rajasthan, their victories have been comprehensive as Delhi look to go the distance this season.

 

TEAM HYDERABAD – 4/10

Like Chennai, Hyderabad’s venue-specific squad has seemingly cost them the season. If the pace and batting-friendly conditions in UAE, which forced teams to start with a batting heavy team every match, was not enough, losing speedster Bhuvneshwar Kumar to injury was the last thing Hyderabad needed.

However, having world-class batsmen like David Warner, Kane Williamson and Jonny Bairstow alongside one-time title winner Manish Pandey in their ranks, Hyderabad have no excuse to do so underwhelmingly as has been their case so far. Their ace spinner Rashid Khan has not dropped a bit despite the change in venue as well.

Hence, while Warner and Co. might have won just three of their first seven matches, they won’t need unlikely heroes to stand up to see a change in their fortunes. They have enough firepower to target a playoff finish.

 

TEAM RAJASTHAN – 3/10

Despite coming to the tournament as an underdog, as always, Rajasthan had stunned Chennai and Punjab with their deep batting order in the first two matches. They had managed to score 200 plus runs while batting both first and second, drawing huge amounts of praise from fans and critics.

But their magic had soon vanished as they went on a four-match losing streak, thereby standing up to popular perception. However, in the likes of Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, Rajasthan have some brilliant T20 talents who could cause riots if given the proper opportunity.

Fortunately, with most IPL 2020 matches seeing unpredictable outcomes, teams like Rajasthan and Hyderabad have a real chance at playoffs over the next matches.

 

TEAM PUNJAB – 2/10

Punjab’s problem this season has been highly incomprehensible to many. From having exciting names on paper to their players performing exceptionally well, Punjab have had everything going their way except the results.

Seeing your side lose to Delhi in the super over and falling short by just two runs against Kolkata is extremely difficult – mostly because of the psychological toll it takes on the team than the points missed. And Punjab are struggling with extreme loss of confidence – losing six of their seven matches and sitting bottom of the table.

The only way out of the conundrum is going through it and while Punjab’s chances of reaching the playoffs remain next to none, fans would hope to see their side to end the tournament on a high.

 

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