As of 14 April 2016, eight matches have been played so far in this year’s IPL. This means that every one of the eight IPL teams has played at least one match so far. Only four of the eight teams will make to the playoff stage, therefore, the points table is of utmost importance during the qualifiers. The rule is that four teams with the most points make it to the next stage with the net run rate being the decider in case of a points tie among the teams.
Currently, the two teams topping the tables are The ‘Gujarat Lions’ led by Suresh Raina and the ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ led by Virat Kohli. The Lions have won both the matches they have played so far and have 4 points with a healthy net run rate of +1.040. The Challengers from Bangalore have played only one game so far but are second in the points table due to winning the match by a massive margin and thus accumulating a net run rate of +2.250.
It is no doubt that the table toppers have performed in a very dominating fashion till now but what are their chances of winning the cup? For starters, the Lions are a completely new team with a rookie captain; they have a very good (possibly the second best) opening pair with Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch. The team also has the most valuable T20 all-rounder in Dwayne Bravo and the highest run scorer in IPL history Suresh Raina. On the downside, their bowling attack is a little weak and the team is too reliant on the top 3 for their batting needs.
On the other hand, the Royal Challengers from Bangalore is an impressive unit but one that is yet to win an IPL trophy and live up to its full potential. Captained by the Indian Team vice-captain, Virat Kohli, the team has probably the best T20 batting line-up and the best opening pair with Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle. The top four batsmen are definitely the most intimidating batmen in world cricket today as Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB Devilliers and Shane Watson are all proven match winners.
So on paper the Royal Challengers seems to be the favorites but considering how the Lions have started their campaign, these two teams are hot favorites to make it to the semi-finals.