So The Race Is Heating Up…

So The Race Is Heating Up…

When I wrote this blog, never did I expect that even after 48 games, we wouldn’t have a single team officially qualified for the playoffs. I didn’t think that just one team would’ve been officially eliminated from the race. I didn’t think that 7 teams would still be in the race when we have just 8 games left. But hey, this ain’t the Indian Premier League for nothing!

The comments I’ve so confidently made in that blog have proved to be meticulously wrong. The most blatant error in there is that I had boldly and rather ignorantly declared Kings XI Punjab to be out of the playoff race already! Guess what? They’ve won 5 out of 5 since then, and are not only very much in the race, but are in prime position for that coveted No.4 spot! How the tides have changed…

The current points table

Anyway, the playoff race is moving, respirating, stimulating, growing, reproducing, excreting, and nutritioning (The scientific way to say that the playoff race is alive –needed to get some biology revision done). And there is a very interesting pattern in the remaining fixtures and how they may play out. So let’s let our circular muscles constrict our pupils and our cilliary muscles contract to relax our suspensory ligaments to bulge our lenses and reflect the light onto our retinas where it can be intercepted by cone cells and sent through to the brain by the sensory neurone where we will finally interpret the words and understand the pattern (Sorry, won’t happen again.).

Here are the remaining fixtures for this season :

The remaining fixtures

What I want to do here is divide the teams into 4 pairs. Here are the first two pairs:

  1. MI and RCB
  2. DC and SRH

If you look at the fixtures closely, you’ll see that both the teams of Pair 1 only play teams from Pair 2. And vice-versa. For example, Mumbai Indians will play against the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad. And Delhi Capitals will play against the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.  And barring SRH, all these teams are in the Top 4. So essentially, the top teams will all be playing against each other. A team like DC who looked sure to be in the playoffs earlier have now picked up a hat-trick of losses and have to beat at least one of the 2 best teams in the competition to secure their place. SRH have an even worse situation – having 4 lesser points than DC and having to go through the same heavyweights. At the cost of embarrassing myself yet again, I will say safely that SRH are not making the playoffs this season, and the odds are against DC making the Top 2.

The other 2 pairs :

  • KKR and KXIP
  • RR and CSK

Now, these fixtures provide for tough matchups but they also mean that the teams will be playing against their direct competition. In this pair group, RR are competing for a playoff spot with both KKR and KXIP. And these are the exact teams they get to face! So if they get a victory, not only is it a win for them, it is also a loss for their opponents. Pair 4 is also the only pair where a team actually wants its partner to do well. In all the other pairs, the paired teams are competing with each other in some way or the other. But here, CSK is already out of the race, so RR fans would be cheering them on to beat the teams who are actually their competition i.e. KKR and KXIP.

Some calculations for RR fans such as myself…

If Pair 4 wins all the games in this group, the Rajasthan Royals will be making it through to the playoffs. If RR wins both their games but CSK loses one of their games – it all will come down to NRR. If the team that CSK loses to is KKR, then RR is likely to go through because they already have a superior NRR to KKR. But if CSK loses to the in-form Kings XI Punjab, then it’s game over for RR, even if they win both their games. So essentially, the Rajasthan Royals need 3 results all to go in their favour, if they want to make the playoffs. That’s a probability of 12.5% even after we take the chance of each game as 50-50 which is far from the actual odds). But to be fair, the odds of KXIP making this dream run wee far worse but it still happened, so you can’t ever be sure (insert the last line of the 4th paragraph with the Robert E. Weide song backing and let’s call it a day).

Final Playoff Predictions :

  1. MI
  2. RCB
  3. DC
  4. KXIP

Evidently, I’m a very risk-taking person…

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