After nearly 30 matches in the IPL, one thing is clear. The flashy teams have largely failed to fire, while those with grit have got the results.

CAPTION | Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Cameron White celebrates with Amit Mishra (left) after his hat-trick against Pune Warriors. (Image | The Hindu)

Warm glow | Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Cameron White celebrates with Amit Mishra (left) after the latter’s third IPL hat-trick against Pune Warriors. (Image | The Hindu)

Surprise package of the tournament so far are the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Their name and orange uniform aside, they are one of the most dour sides in the competition. However, at this stage, the Sunrisers lie in second.

The Sunrisers have only scored more than 130 in an innings once across seven matches. Yet they have not needed to. What the Sunrisers lack in big-hitting batsmen they make up for with strong team efforts in the field.

So far they have proved almost impossible to put away, taking out most of their games by the barest of margins. A few balls to spare, 10 runs ahead at the end, once even after a Super Over to decide a tie, at this stage the Sunrisers even have a negative net run rate. However, they have shown that the only important number is the one on the points table denoting their victories.

By contrast, the Delhi Daredevils have been atrocious. With a line-up that includes Virender Sehwag, Dave Warner and Irfan Pathan, they should be the ultimate IPL team. The Daredevils have players with the power to clear the rope on any ground.

However, Delhi have failed to hold their collective nerve at crucial moments. The Daredevils have suffered from a number of batting collapses, with their middle and lower order offering little fight. In one instance, against the Chennai Super Kings, they were dismissed for 83, with only three players getting more than six runs.

In fairness, the Daredevils have been hit hard by injuries. Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder are both in the squad, but neither is fit for the tournament. Their presence would have added firepower to the batting, but it is impossible to say whether they would have reversed any of the results.

There are still more than 40 matches left in the round-robin section of the tournament, but patterns are beginning to emerge. The Rajasthan Royals will almost certainly be in the playoffs. They have been winning handsomely, which will greatly assist them in case they finish level on points with another team.

Apart from the Daredevils, little separates the rest of the teams. All have recorded at least two wins, which makes for a very congested middle of the table. Any could still shoot up the ladder with a run of victories.

Such unpredictability is one of the big strengths of the IPL. Any side can beat any other, due to the diffused nature of talent. Some outfits may have more star players, though as the points table currently shows, star power does not win matches.

Alex Braae is New Zealand-based writer for Lines on Grass.

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