Time to make predictions for the semifinals of this IPL? The exercise is worth the effort if for nothing else than just to indulge in some brain game. The final picture would be out only when the last league game is played, which is a testimony to the competitiveness of this event.
Delhi have made the cut and Chennai would take some stopping. They need just a win in three games, which ought to be a stroll since none of their opponents are heavyweights. However, they need to be cautious as the unfancied Bangalore Royal Challengers upset them on Thursday.
That leaves us with two remaining brainteasers. The rest of the six teams have played 11 matches each and at least five of these outfits are in contention. Between the third and seventh-placed team, the difference is of a mere two points or an extra match won.
Deccan Chargers, despite the loss on Wednesday, have their nose in front. Their captain, Adam Gilchrist, is the second highest scorer of the league with 329 runs and two of their bowlers are among top-five. Their remaining ties are against Bangalore, Kolkata and Punjab which ought to be easy.
So, for the final berth and the trickier part. Bangalore and Punjab are just a point away from Mumbai and Rajasthan.
Rajasthan, on the face of it, have suffered a massive blow in injury to their charismatic skipper Shane Warne. Two of their ties are against `beatable' Mumbai and Bangalore. If they win these, they are through. Mumbai are in a must-win situation against Rajasthan on Thursday night, for the remaining two ties are against heavyweights Chennai and Delhi.
Kings XI Punjab would be disappointed with their batting. They need to win at least two ties against Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad --- not an easy ask against the three best sides in the competition. TCM