By Bhavya Chand
New Delhi, May 21 (IANS): The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 is witnessing one of its most exciting and unpredictable seasons in recent years.
With some of the biggest names in cricket battling it out, fans are being treated to a showcase of skill and talent. However, as with any competition, there are always teams that fail to live up to the expectations.
Three teams -- Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings -- have been eliminated from the playoff race. Capitals were the first team to be eliminated, followed by Sunrisers and Punjab Kings.
Why did Delhi fail?
Delhi Capitals have arguably been one of the worst teams in the competition this season, finishing their campaign with just 10 points from 14 matches.
The team's internal struggles in finalising their starting lineup, coupled with underperforming key players, have contributed to their early elimination from the competition, making them effectively the first team to be knocked out.
DC's batting line-up consists of high-quality top-order batsmen such as David Warner, Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Phil Salt and Rilee Rossouw. However, they faced difficulties in acquiring a suitable middle-order batsman while their regular captain, Rishabh Pant, was out following a nasty accident.
As a result, Manish Pandey and Sarfaraz Khan were being forced to bat in positions that are not their usual ones in the team's line-up.
Lacking sufficient all-rounders in their lineup is one of the reasons behind Delhi's dismal run in the tournament. Delhi had three all-rounders in their team heading into this season -- Mitchell Marsh, Axar Patel and Lalit Yadav.
Teams that are packed with all-rounders experience a significant boost in their chances of winning a match, which has been evident in international teams winning World Cups and franchise teams triumphing in different leagues.
Delhi's inexplicable performance this season is completely baffling considering the high-calibre coaching personnel they had, including Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson, Sourav Ganguly, Praveen Amre, Ajit Agarkar and James Hopes. There are indications that changes may occur in the support staff and team composition for the upcoming season. Undoubtedly, the absence of Pant has been sorely felt.
Early sun set for Sunrisers
There are multiple reasons contributing to the struggles of SRH, currently placed at the bottom of the points table with one match to go. One primary factor is the poor performance of their overseas batsmen, with the exception of Heinrich Klassen. Most of SRH's overseas batters had a disappointing season, including Harry Brook, who was signed by the team for a significant amount of Rs 13.25 crore in the auction.
However, barring a century against Kolkata Knight Riders, Brook did not make even a single score of substance for his side, managing just 63 runs in the other eight innings.
Skipper Aiden Markram also faced difficulties in finding form throughout the season. The underwhelming performances by both Markram and Brook put a significant burden on Klassen to carry the batting responsibilities single-handedly towards the end of the batting order.
Compounding their difficulties, Indian batters such as Rahul Tripathi and Mayank Agarwal also endured a disappointing season, falling short of expectations.
Adding to their woes was the lacklustre bowling performance. Traditionally considered one of SRH's strengths, their bowling unit has been unremarkable this season. This is evident from the fact that none of the SRH's bowlers appeared in the 'Top 10' of the Purple Cap leaderboard.
SRH bowlers have struggled to contain the opposition batters this season. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen, T. Natarajan, Umran Malik and Fazalhaq Farooqi have all conceded more than eight runs per over.
The only bowler who has been able to make an impact has been Mayank Markande, picking up 12 wickets in 10 matches at an economy rate of 7.89.
Kings bite the dust
After suffering a 4-wicket loss at the hands of Rajasthan Royals on Friday, Punjab Kings have also joined Delhi and Sunrisers as the third team to get eliminated.
Inconsistent batting and ineffective bowling were the main reasons behind Punjab's failure this season.
Punjab had a number of inconsistent batters in their line-up. While some players like Shikhar Dhawan and Liam Livingstone performed well in patches, the team as a whole failed to put up a consistent batting performance. This was evident from the fact that Punjab managed to score more than 200 runs in just five out of their 14 matches.