We are at the business end of the IPL with 60 games already done and dusted. Until now only one team has made it to the playoffs and that is Gujrat who have been exceptional from the start and have won 9 games from 12.
Apart for Mumbai and Chennai, all the other seven teams are in with a chance to make it to the playoffs and it’s going to be a tight finish and no one can be sure which would be those three teams.
This IPL has defied all cricketing logic but I would still say with the wickets getting tired, it’s more viable to bat first in the pressure games and put up the score and try and defend it.
Most of the teams which have posted a score of around 180 plus have been able to defend and teams have not been able to chase down the target. But surprisingly out of the 60 games captains have decided to chase in 53 games. Yes, having a target in mind and keeping the dew factor, captains have been doing so but teams who have been put in by the opposition captain and which has put up a good score have been able to defend it.
Out of the 60 games, 35 have been won batting second and 25 batting first so there is not much difference as the dew factor has not helped any team dramatically which has helped batting second. It’s just the mindset captains have and hence they have been chasing.
Paid the price
Bangalore were sitting pretty on 14 points and all the pressure was on Punjab who had to win their last three games and they were put in to bat. Yes, Punjab has been hot and cold mind you Bangalore have got a quality spinner in Hasaranga who is the joint highest wicket taker along with Chahal but Faf du Plessis decided to bat second and paid the price as Punjab scored 209 and batted Bangalore out of the game. Once you have set a big total, it’s not easy to keep up with the asking rate of 9 runs as batsmen keep taking risks and losing their wickets.
Batting first does not guarantee a win but takes away the pressure and batsman can set a total once they get a good start. Easier said than done but if you have a quality bowling attack, you need to back your bowlers to defend the total. Time will tell which teams will make it but the safe bet is to bat first, put on a good total and then defend it.