Midway into the tournament, an assessment of how the nine franchises have done in season six of the IPL.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
The two-time IPL winners are currently top of the table with seven wins (the most for the season) from nine matches and look good for the play-offs. They lost their first match to Mumbai Indians narrowly and then ended up on the wrong side of an upset against Pune Warriors, but five wins a row have put CSK right back into the fray. Their mighty batting line-up has not collectively pulled its weight but with Michael Hussey in blazing form, MS Dhoni repeatedly chipping in with breezy cameos and Suresh Raina now starting to flourish, Chennai are headed in the right direction. With three bowlers in the top ten list of wicket-takers this season, the attack has proven much sharper in 2013.
High point: Crushing Kings XI Punjab by ten wickets.
Low point: Losing to Pune by 24 runs.
Best player: Hussey, with 445 runs at 74.16 in eight games.
Disappointment: Murali Vijay, with 122 runs at 17.42 in eight games.
Notable performer: South Africa's bowling allrounder Chris Morris was purchased for $625,000 and has taken 10 wickets at 20.20.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
At second on the IPL 6 leaderboard with six wins from nine matches, RCB are again in the running for the play-offs but need to sort out a few glitches. The batting has been reliant on Chris Gayle and skipper Virat Kohli, with nobody else being nearly as emphatic or consistent. The bowling has been chalky, with the likes of RP Singh experiencing a couple highs and several lows. Bangalore are also not in possession of a potent spinner, which could prove harmful as the tournament progresses; particularly if the batting remains topsy-turvy. Bangalore have won all their home matches but need to start winning on the road.
High point: Hammering Pune by 130 runs.
Low point: Losing to Mumbai by 58 runs.
Best player: Gayle has a league-leading 450 runs at 90, with a best of 175 not out. Each time he has crossed fifty, Bangalore have won.
Disappointment: Tillakaratne Dilshan has scratched around five innings for a total of 76 runs.
Notable performer: RCB picked up Ravi Rampaul for $290,000 and the West Indian quick has grabbed eight wickets in five matches apart from being sharp in the field.
Under Rahul Dravid, Rajasthan have proved themselves a competitive and disciplined outfit. Before Shane Watson linked up with the squad, Rajasthan showed how much spirit and determination could outweigh talent: they beat Delhi Daredevils, KKR and Kings XI Punjab by fighting tooth and nail. Since Watson's arrival, they have beaten Mumbai and Sunrisers Hyderabad and are now at third place. Three batsmen have crossed 200 runs, the most in any side along with CSK, while with the ball James Faulker has been excellent. If a few other internationals can pull their weight, Rajasthan could see their graph head further upwards in the second half.
High point: Beating KKR by 19 runs at Jaipur.
Low point: Being beaten by 87 runs by Mumbai.
Best player: Faulker's 16 wickets have come at a miserly 7.75 apiece and his economy rate of 5.35 the best for bowlers to have taken at least six wickets. He has been electric in the field and his batting down the order valuable.
Disappointment: No one in particular, though Rajasthan would expect Sreesanth to be more consistent considering he is their most experienced bowler.
Notable performer: Rajasthan went after Faulker at the February auction with the motive being a fast bowler capable of bowling well at the death, and the Australian has proved a very profitable buy.
The big money doled out on four Australians has yet to pay dividends - Ricky Ponting dropped himself after six matches and million-dollar man Glenn Maxwell has not got a game - but the good news for Mumbai is that despite some big stars struggling for consistency they have managed to win five matches. The team's success has owed to some excellent fielding, excellent knocks from Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma, crucial bursts of pace and in the last two matches fifties from Dwayne Smith. More such will be needed to keep Hyderabad, Punjab and Kolkata at bay.
High point: Beating RCB by 58 runs.
Low point: Losing to Delhi Daredevils by nine wickets.
Best player: Karthik started the season with a bang and though his form has tapered off a bit, he is the only Mumbai batsman to cross 300 runs.
Disappointment: Ponting, bought for $400,00 and named captain for IPL 6, made 52 runs in five innings before axing himself.
Notable performer: Mitchell Johnson has been given a prolonged run this season and his nine wickets at 23.66 have been instrumental in Mumbai's success.
The team formerly known as Deccan Chargers remains in the fray for the play-offs despite having a lackluster batting order and losing JP Duminy for the season and Shikhar Dhawan for the first eight games. They have been carried by their bowlers, chiefly Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra, but will hope for a spark now that Dhawan has returned and allrounder Darren Sammy marked his debut with a busy 60.
High point: Beating Pune by 11 runs when defending 119.
Low point: Being beaten by KKR by 48 runs.
Best player: Mishra has been a stand-out bowler, snaring a team-high 14 wickets at 15.21 including a hat-trick. Twice he has been named Man of the Match.
Notable performer: In a team where no batsman has touched the 150-run mark, Thisara Perera's 144 at 20.57 and ten wickets at 23.90 make him a valuable asset.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
The top order remains a big worry but the composure of David Miller has lifted the spirits of the Adam Gilchrist-led side. Getting starts has been Punjab's bane and in that regard they need young opener Mandeep Singh to be more consistent. He is the only batsman to cross 200 runs. With the ball there have been sporadic dazzling performances but as the table tightens in the second half, how their allrounders and medium-pacers rally could prove decisive for Punjab.
High point: Chasing down 186 to beat Pune with one ball remaining.
Low point: The ten-wicket drubbing at the hands of CSK.
Best player: Mandeep with 219 runs at an average of 31.28. He has played a hand in all of Punjab's wins.
Disappointment: In his sixth season with Punjab, legspinner Piyush Chawla has managed three wickets in eight games at an average of 66 and economy rate of 6.98.
Notable performer: Miller has provided the middle order with the spark needed to win matches. His unbeaten 80 off 41 balls in the nerve-shredding win over Pune was a lesson in concentration and coolness.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
The defending champions have struggled for consistency, as evident by the fact that they have yet to win two matches in a row. Gautam Gambhir has been unable to rally the team like he did in 2011 and 2012, though he leads the KKR run charts with 308. The main problem for the team is that key innings and bowling spells have not been produced in unison; it has been one innings here, another there. With just three wins from nine matches, Kolkata have reached the point where each match is virtually a must-win.
High point: Beating Hyderabad by 48 runs at Eden Gardens.
Low point: Losing to RCB by eight wickets.
Best player: The only batsman to score three half-centuries, Gambhir has battled hard to lift his team. However, by his standards he would be disappointed.
Disappointment: Yusuf Pathan, once again. Unable to fire with the bat, not deemed potent enough to be used as a wicket-taking option regularly.
Notable performer: Eoin Morgan has played in all nine matches, after being deemed surplus to the team's needs in 2012, and is second to Gambhir in the run charts with 268.
It is just not what people expected from 2012's most consistent team. Nine matches, two wins. The loss of Kevin Pietersen, Jesse Ryder and Varun Aaron no doubt hurt but the indifferent form of Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene has really let down Delhi. Barring Umesh Yadav, the bowling has lacked bite; five times Delhi have conceded 150 or more. A flabby middle order has not helped, but with David Warner moving down to No. 4 there is still hope for Delhi to stay in the reckoning for the play-offs.
High point: Beating Mumbai by nine wickets.
Low point: Losing to Chennai by 86 runs.
Best player: Warner heads Delhi's batting charts with 273 runs at 39; while those are not great figures he has been the most consistent batsman and as always, the best field fielder by a week.
Disappointment: Former India Under-19 captain Unmukt Chand could have used his chances in IPL 6 to enhance his claims for an India cap, but 40 runs in four innings including two golden ducks has left him by the wayside.
Notable performer: Yadav has bowled with pace and accuracy. He has varied his speed and length to stifle runs at the death, as witnessed by a two-run, double-wicket 18th over against Pune.
This season does not look good for the team that finished last in 2012 and currently occupies the bottom after losing to Delhi on Sunday. The batting has been too reliant on the openers, the bowling lacking in bite and a mixed captaincy method - they have four leaders in nine matches - has left Pune wearing a befuddled look. The aftermath of Gayle's blistering 175 is still being left and it's tough to see this team making it to the play-offs.
High point: Beating CSK in Chennai by 24 runs.
Low point: Being steamrolled in Bangalore by 130 runs.
Best player: Aaron Finch has not proven the best of captains, but as an opener he has been crucial for Pune with 266 runs. His arrival coincided with Pune's improvement at the top and he has featured in four half-century opening stands.
Disappointment: Plenty was expected of Angelo Mathews when he was named captain, but he has played in just five matches - the last of which was on April 17. With bat and ball, Mathews came a cropper.
Notable performer: Rahul Sharma has come back from a turbulent off-season to take eight wickets at an economy of 6.20 and has been a persistent threat with his legspin.
(All stats up to the end of Game 39 on April 28.)
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