All To Play for in IPL
Posted on May 22 2018
Who's Going to Win the Playoffs?
Well, how wrong could we have been? We predicted RCB and MI to sneak into the playoffs, and neither of them made it. Instead, Rajasthan and Kolkata will fight it out in the eliminator, as they battle to extend their seasons. Here’s our recap of how the last round played out, and predictions for the final outcome of the IPL.
KKR vs SRH
We predicted KKR would lose, so of course, they won. Chasing 173 runs to win, the Knight Riders won with a couple of balls to spare, taking a major scalp of table toppers SRH in this crucial game. KKR were staring down the barrel, as SRH got out to 141-2 after 15 overs, but some excellent death bowling from the likes of Prasidh Krishna and Sunil Narine gave them hope as they were set 173 runs to win. Narine contributed once again with the bat, with a quick-fire 29 from ten to open the innings and KKR paced their chase expertly to clinch their spot in the playoffs.
RR vs RCB
With Rajasthan missing both Stokes and Butler, we predicted that the Royal Challengers would come through this one, but cautioned that you never know what you’re going to get with the boys from Bangalore. It turns out we were right to do so, as true to form, RCB flattered to deceive. This time, however, it was the batsmen who failed, as they fell well short of chasing a par-score of 164. The Royals opened the batting, with the excellent Rahul Tripathi anchoring the innings with 80 not out, and reached a respectable 164, with Umesh Yadav’s 3 for 25 giving RCB an excellent chance of a successful run chase. However, RCB rarely looked convincing in their chase, as Kholi went for 4 runs and wickets fell at regular intervals. AB made a decent fist of things, with 53 off 35 balls, but it was all in vain as RCB went out with a whimper.
DD vs MI
Mumbai needed a victory over Delhi in order to progress further in the tournament but fell to the bottom of the table club, as they paid the price for a poor start to the season. The brilliant boundary-machine, Rishabh Pant led Delhi to 174/4 with 64 runs off 44 balls, and this proved too much for Mumbai, who were punished for losing wickets at regular intervals.
All of this means that SRH plays CSK in the first qualifier, with the winning team going directly to the final and the losers playing the winners of the eliminator for a place in the final. We’re going for CSK in this one, SRH love to bat first and defend a total, but CSK, and in particular, MS Dhoni are the masters of the chase, and the wise, old head will see them through.
Look out for KKR to overcome a depleted RR squad in the eliminator before going on to beat SRH in the second qualifier and reach the final (I know, we picked them to miss out on the playoffs altogether!) This will leave a final of CSK vs KKR, and it’s going to be a classic. Dhoni to hit the winning runs off the last ball.
Who's Going to Make the IPL Playoffs?
The league that loves to serve up late drama is at it again, as 5 teams fight for the last two playoff spots. Going into the last round of matches, Kolkata have 14 points and Mumbai, Bangalore, Rajasthan, and Punjab all have 12 points, with just net run rate separating them. With Hyderabad and Chennai safely qualified, we take a look at who is likely to join them.
On the face of it, KKR are in pole position to lock down a playoff spot, as they are two points ahead of their rivals. But Kolkata have just the third best net runrate (-0.096) of the challengers, and face the toughest game, as they head to Hyderabad to face the table toppers, SRH. If KKR win this game they are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs and will be full of confidence having won their last two games. The Sunrisers on the other hand, have lost their last two games, but will be eager to finish the regular season on a high, and with arguably the best bowling attack in the league, they will provide a stern test for KKR. Like any IPL game, expect fireworks and a tense finish as KKR lay it all on the line to keep their season alive.
(SRH vs KKR - Sat 19th May, 2.30 GMT)
Defending champions, Mumbai have once again left it late to make a push for a playoff spot. They face bottom of the table Delhi, a game that given their superior net runrate of +0.384, should see them qualify if they win. Given Delhi’s lowly position, and run of three straight losses, you would expect this to be an easy win for MI. But, in 20 over cricket, you never know, and Delhi, like any team in the competition, possess players that on their day, can take the game away from you. Nevertheless, expect the professionalism and winning culture of the Mumbai team to show through and secure their team a spot in the playoffs.
(DD vs MI - Sun 20th May, 10.30 GMT)
RCB, like MI, love a late push for a playoff position, and this year is no different. The men from Bangalore possess an absolutely frightening batting lineup, with Kohli, De Villiers, De Kock and McCullum the stuff of a bowlers’ nightmares. But too often, the team has failed to deliver, with their death bowling a particular worry. This has left RCB in need of a win in a crunch match away at the Rajasthan Royals. The Challengers have a good net runrate (+0.264), and should they win and either of KKR or MI lose, then they are almost guaranteed a place in the playoffs. However, you never quite know what you’re going to get with RCB, and even if their star batsmen fire, and they post a score of 200+, you’re never quite sure they can defend it. Flip a coin on this one.
(RR vs RCB - Sat 19th May, 10.30 GMT)
Rajasthan are really living on a prayer at this point, and things took a turn for the worse as Jos Butler, the competition’s 4th top run scorer was called up for the England team to play Pakistan. This means that the Royals will be without two star players in Butler and Stokes for the rest of the competition. Even with a full team, Rajasthan’s net runrate means that they would need a crushing victory over RCB, with MI losing and KKR losing by a monumental total to stand any chance of reaching the playoffs. This all looks very unlikely, and Rajasthan are all but guaranteed to miss out on a spot in the playoffs in their first season back in the IPL.
If Rajasthan need a miracle then Kings XI Punjab need whatever comes after that. Although their tally of 12 points theoretically puts them in with a chance of making the playoffs, their net runrate of -0.499 means that is virtually impossible. KXIP would need to beat CSK by a huge margin, and hope that MI lost and KKR lost by a massive amount. It will be disappointing to see them go, as KXIP have showcased two of the tournament’s outstanding players in leading run scorer KL Rahul and leading wicket taker Andrew Tye. Despite these two outstanding player’s best efforts, don’t expect to see KXIP advance to the playoffs.
(CSK vs KXIP - Sun 20th May, 2.30 GMT)
Our bet is that MI and RCB might just sneak through, but as is the case with the IPL, it’s anyone’s guess.
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