Poor batting has been bogging down some of the bigger teams in the IPL 2012.
Champions Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians have climbed up among the top four mainly through some gritty performances rather than with a level of comfort.
With many of the other lower placed teams beginning to fire, things may get a bit hotter as the teams enter the crucial stages.
Chennai got passed 200 once to snatch a great victory but have now regressed to par or below par scores.
One of their biggest problems has been the top order. The opening batsmen have failed to give the team a good start. The main cause has been the lack of form of Murali Vijay.
Faf du Plessis has taken all the pressure and luckily has been among the runs.
This has put additional pressure on the middle order which has not been in prime form either. Suresh Raina and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni have been adequate but the big scores are not coming.
The active lower order has many times got Chennai to a defendable total. Hopefully the close victories this week will bring Chennai back on track.
The Mumbai Indians have to thank their bowlers for putting them in third place. The return of Lasith Malinga has been the biggest plus point. Skipper Harbhajan Singh, after a very poor start, has begun to settle down.
But both Harbhajan and Munaf Patel, who has been in good form, must cut out the dramatics if the team has to progress. Munaf is behaving like a spoilt brat robbed of his chocolate and blaming everyone, left, right, and centre, for leaking runs.
The Mumbai batsmen have been inconsistent in most matches. Sachin Tendulkar is yet to set the stadiums alight while Rohit Sharma’s form seems to be tapering off.
Only James Franklin, Dinesh Karthik and to a lesser extent, Ambati Rayudu have shown consistency without the big scores.
The entry of many of the Australian stars may have a big effect on the fortunes of the teams.
Michael Hussey returns to Chennai, and once he settles, he is sure to have an impact in the middle order.
The Delhi Daredevils lose Kevin Pieterson who will return to England for the Test series against the West Indies. But he will be replaced by the hard-hitting David Warner.
Michael Clarke is yet to have an impact with the Pune Warriors but a big innings from him won’t be far off.
Many of the teams are also banking on their overseas stars to step on the gas.
Cameron White has started to get the runs for Deccan Chargers but the rest of the team is still falling short.
Captain Kumara Sangakkara hit top form this week with a magnificent 82 but he needs to maintain the positive outlook to get his team out from propping up the ladder.
The one batsman who has stood tall in this IPL has been Rahul Dravid. His batting yesterday against the Kings XI Punjab has helped Rajasthan Royals up the table.
With Shane Watson looking in prime form, Rajasthan is sure to push the other teams hard.
Gautam Gambhir has also rediscovered his touch and Kolkata Knight Riders have been a major threat to all teams.
It is hoped that some of India’s high-profile players start performing before the tournament is over.
Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan are sporting new hairstyles. Fingers crossed that unlike Samson, they have lost their powers after trimming the tresses.