SRH's biggest strength, major RR weakness and X-factors of RCB and KKR: SWOT analysis for IPL 2024 playoff teams | Crickit
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SRH's biggest strength, major RR weakness and X-factors of RCB and KKR: SWOT analysis for IPL 2024 playoff teams

By, New Delhi
May 21, 2024 09:27 AM IST

After 70 days of pulsating action in IPL 2024, we highlight the biggest strength, the one glaring weakness and the X-factor for the four playoff teams.

Does SRH have a problem with their bowling in the death overs? Is Rajat Patidar the X-factor for the Challengers? How crucial has the Sunil Narine-Phil Salt partnership been for the Knight Riders this season? Have the Royals lost all momentum at the business end of the tournament?

Let's take a look at the biggest strength, the one glaring weakness and the X-factor for the four playoff teams(AFP-PTI)
Let's take a look at the biggest strength, the one glaring weakness and the X-factor for the four playoff teams(AFP-PTI)

After 70 days of pulsating action in IPL 2024, it is time for the final showdown and we highlight the biggest strength, the one glaring weakness and the X-factor for the four playoff teams this season.

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SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

Strength

There is no debate here. The opening partnership of Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma has revolutionized T20 batting and has had a massive impact in SRH’s phenomenal success this season in the IPL. No pair has added more runs than the 676 by Head-Sharma in the tournament. That they have done so at a strike rate of 229 with three hundred partnerships is a testimony of how devastating they have been at the top of the order for SRH. SRH has the highest run-rate (11.8) in the powerplay and have posted record totals in the first six overs this season. The blitzkrieg starts have given SRH the early ascendancy and demoralized the opposition bowlers forcing them into submission.

Weakness

SRH don’t have a world class spinner this season and have been the worst spin bowling unit in the tournament. Their slower bowlers have picked the fewest wickets (13), have the worst economy (11.1) and the worst bowling average (50.2) in the competition. This could pose a big problem for them at Chepauk. They have also leaked runs at the death and their economy of 12.4 makes them the second-most expensive bowling unit in the last four overs.

X-Factor

Travis Head is a big-match player who raises his game on the biggest stage when it matters most. He showcased this big-match temperament in two big ICC tournaments last year hammering tons in the final of the World Test Championship and the World Cup. Head has been in menacing form this season in the IPL and is at number 3 on the aggregate list with 533 runs at a strike rate of 201.1 with one hundred and four fifties. No batter has scored more runs than Head’s 386 in the powerplay and he has done so at a rate of 218.1.

Also Read | ‘…KKR are not cocky or overconfident’: Wasim Akram sends big warning to SRH

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

Strength

The biggest strength for KKR will be their spin duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy. They have combined to pick 33 wickets – the most for any spin unit - at the best average and strike rate in the tournament. Only their CSK counterparts, with an economy of 7.7, have been marginally more restrictive than the KKR duo (economy of 8).

Weakness

KKR’s biggest weakness is the batting form of their skipper, Shreyas Iyer who has mainly batted from the number 4 position in the tournament. Iyer has not been at his fluent best and scored just 287 runs in 12 innings at a strike rate of 135.4 with just one solitary fifty.

X-Factor

The opening partnership of Sunil Narine and Phil Salt has provided KKR with the impetus at the top of the order and have followed the same aggressive template as Head-Sharma for SRH. Narine and Salt have added 559 runs in just 12 innings with five fifty stands and one century partnership at a startling strike-rate of 207.8. KKR have crossed 70 in the powerplay on six occasions this season.

RAJASTHAN ROYALS

Strength

The form of skipper Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag has been the biggest strength for the Royals this season. Samson and Parag have scored in excess of 500 runs at strike rates in the 150s with nine fifties between them. With the opening duo of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler not at their peak this season, it was Samson and Parag who produced match-winning performances for the Royals in the first half of their campaign which gave them the early ascendancy in the tournament.

Weakness

The Royals seem to have peaked too soon and won eight of their first nine matches in the season. However, they suddenly ran out of steam and have lost four of their last five matches with one washout. The Royals not only enter the playoffs with no momentum but also a tad low on confidence. The dramatic change in fortunes also meant that they finished third on the points table taking away that cushion of an extra match to make the playoffs. One of the major concerns for the Royals in their last couple of encounters has been their batting and its inability to adapt to the slower surfaces. RR were sluggish in both Chennai and Guwahati where they put up two sub-par totals of 141 and 144.

X-Factor

Trent Boult’s spell in the powerplay will be crucial for the Royals in the Eliminator against RCB in Ahmedabad. The left-armer has a knack of picking wickets with the new ball – in fact, no bowler has accounted for more dismissals in the powerplay than Boult (49) in the IPL since 2019! Boult started the tournament in fine form bagging 10 wickets in the first 9 matches at an economy of 7.8. Seven of his wickets came in the powerplay where he was brilliantly restrictive conceding just 6.7 per over.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BENGALURU

Strength

The form of Virat Kohli at the top of the order is the biggest positive for the Challengers entering the playoffs. Kohli is the leading run-getter of the tournament with an aggregate of 708 runs in 14 innings with one hundred and five fifties. The Indian great has matched his phenomenal consistency with an aggressive intent in this edition and is scoring at a rate of 155.6 which is his highest ever in an IPL season! He is quick off the blocks and is taking more risks again spin in the middle overs.

Weakness

RCB has always been a top-heavy batting unit and that has not changed this season too. They are over-dependent on the Big 3 – Kohli, Faf du Plessis and Rajat Patidar – and should two of them fail in an encounter, it will put immense pressure on their middle and lower-order. Despite the resurgence, RCB has the third-lowest batting average for positions 5-7 in the tournament.

X-Factor

Rajat Patidar will be the X-factor for the RCB in the playoffs given the surfaces in Ahmedabad and Chennai will assist the slower bowlers. Patidar has been the most destructive RCB batter in their late surge in the tournament and has dominated the spinners through the season. Patidar’s strike rate of 210.9 against the spinners is the second-best in the season amongst the 26 batters who have scored a minimum of 100 runs against the slower bowlers. The feature of his batting has been the ease with which he has cleared the ropes – Patidar has blasted 21 sixes against the spinners in the tournament.

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