Vivo IPL
Vivo IPL. Image Credits: Trophy

The Indian Premier League has been wowing fans for more than a decade with its fast-paced action and breathless cricket. Most people aren’t surprised when it’s raining sixes across India, or, as reported by Hindustan Times, when fielders take “impossible” catches on the boundary edge.

What did come as a shock was the postponement of the tournament. Thankfully, the second half of the IPL season is underway again, which means one thing – predicting what will happen next. Rather than guessing, we’ve looked at some of the most telling stats from the past to project how the tournament will finish.

Delhi Capitals Are In – Sunrisers Hyderabad Are Out

The regular season may be nearing its conclusion, but history suggests it’s difficult to predict the final league table positions until the last game. For example, Mumbai Indians was placed seventh in 2015 after 29 matches. Within the next seven fixtures, the most decorated franchise in IPL history took 12 points to qualify in second place and ultimately win the entire competition. Kolkata Knight Riders have already moved from seventh to sixth, two points away from the top four.

Six of the eight franchises aren’t sure of their fates, but history suggests that two are – Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals. The former has the same problem as Premier League football clubs that are bottom at Christmas. Daily Mail points out that three teams in the history of the league have avoided relegation after being bottom on Christmas Day. In the IPL, being at the foot of the table after 29 matches has similar connotations, according to research from Betway, because the eighth-placed team hasn’t finished fourth or higher in the last six years. With BBC Sport reporting on Jonny Bairstow pulling out of the rescheduled fixtures, Sunrisers will need a miracle to reverse this statistic.

Delhi Capitals are on the other side of the coin. In the same period, the side at the top of the division after 29 games hasn’t failed to make it to the playoffs. Indeed, the number one franchise at the end of the regular season has won the tournament twice. After losing to Mumbai in 2020, 2021 could be Delhi’s year for redemption.

Harshal Patel for the Purple Cap – KL Rahul in Charge of the Orange Cap Race

The battles for the Purple Cap and Orange Cap aren’t as flexible because the stats suggest there is less scope for last-ditch attempts to climb the leader boards. Being crowned the top wicket-taker in the IPL, for instance, usually means ending the regular season with more scalps than anyone else. This happened twice, which makes Harshal Patel the leading candidate. The strangest thing about the men with the best odds is that they are pace bowlers. According to the IPL website, seven of the top ten all-time wicket-takers are spinners.

KL Rahul isn’t the top run-scorer at the moment, but that funnily enough gives him the edge over his rivals as three of the last six batters who second after 29 games have gone on to wear orange. If you’re counting out Mumbai Indians because they don’t have many contenders for either cap, you shouldn’t judge so soon. Information from US site Sportskeeda reveals that a MI player has won either cap in the competition’s history. They were Sachin Tendulkar in 2010 and Lasith Malinga in 2011. Of course, the franchise continues to be successful on and off the field. Therefore, nothing suggests Mumbai won’t go deep into the tournament this campaign.

As the competition is due to end in the middle of October, there’s a lot of cricket left to play. Anything can happen, but for now, the stats say that Delhi Capitals, Harshal Patel and KL Rahul look good for post-season honours.