(lnsert generic paragraph about how exciting this IPL has gotten and how nobody expected it to reach such a stage. About how the teams at the top have begun to lose their heads while the teams at the bottom have gotten reincarnated as much stronger versions of themselves. Insert stuff about how I had put off the idea of either one of Delhi and Bangalore not even making it through to the playoffs, but now it’s not just possible, it’s probable)
With 3 playoff spots remaining and 6 teams fighting it out for them, let’s see the scenarios each team needs for them to qualify:
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals
The Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Capitals both currently have 14 points, so they already have an added advantage over the other teams. What they don’t have an advantage in, though, is Net Run Rate. Both these teams have horrific net run rates and SRH is miles ahead of them in that regard, while KXIP is marginally better than both of them too. And guess what? DC and RCB play their final game against each other.
So the winner of the game between DC and RCB is through. That team does not need to worry about NRR or anything, they are through on the basis of their points, and they will be finishing in the Top 2 as well! But the team that loses…The road ahead could be tough for them. What they would need to qualify, is that at least one from KXIP and SRH loses their game, and that the encounter between RR and KKR isn’t a comfortable win for either side, especially RR (because then they might overtake them on NRR).
So, the probability of both of them making it through is calculated to be around 65% (assuming the probability of a team winning a particular match is 50%). That’s a great probability to work with, but let’s just imagine if it doesn’t work out that way. These teams were regarded as the best teams throughout the tournament. And it’s so amazing to see their fortunes dependent on just one game. And on other teams.
The Sunrisers really have risen up toward the end of the tournament. Especially in their Net Run Rate. Only Mumbai Indians are ahead of them in that regard (those guys aren’t even human, nobody can compete with them). Oh wait what was that? Nobody can compete with the Mumbai Indians? Oh well, isn’t it unfortunate then that Sunrisers play their last game against Mumbai!
Yes, SRH will play the most important game of their season against the toughest opponent physically possible. The equation for them is simple. A win = Playoffs. A loss = Thanks for coming. They’re the only team who doesn’t depend even the slightest bit on other’s results. This doesn’t make their task any easier of course, with them squaring off against Mumbai.
Both SRH and MI are coming off two unbelievably one-sided encounters in their favour. They both have the momentum needed. The difference is that SRH have the incentive (They need to win to qualify for the playoffs) While MI don’t really have a reason to push too hard (They’ve already got the No.1 spot locked down on the table). However, if MI’s last game is anything to go by, they aren’t slowing down at all. This game will be the last game of the group stage. So it all really will go down to the wire…
Kings XI Punjab
KXIP’s stupendous 5-win run was ended by Rajasthan Royals recently. Now they find themselves in a tricky position. The equation for them is pretty similar to SRH as well, but their NRR isn’t as strong. So they might need to worry about RR winning their game by a gargantuan margin. But if RR does not win their game by a gargantuan margin, then all KXIP need to do, is win. A win= Playoffs, A loss= Thanks for the entertainment, y’all were the most entertaining team, but sorry you’re out.
Their opponents will be the Chennai Super Kings, who have made a little run of their own after being eliminated from the competition. They’ve gone 2 straight wins, and will be looking to complete the hat-trick today. This will be the last game that this CSK team, their golden generation, will play together. It’s quite apparent that CSK will be doing a rebuild next year, and this group of players will split. So they’ll be eager to give their fans a bit of joy before they spread their wings. This will definitely make for a cracking encounter, if nothing else.
It seems like every bottom-placed team has gone on a run this past week. The same is true for the Royals. They’ve won both their previous games, and are in staggering form. Thei route to the playoffs is however, not so straightforward. They are the most dependent on other results out of all the teams thus far. Let’s assume that they do beat KKR. Even then, they need both KXIP and SRH to lose their games to get into the playoffs. And that’s after assuming that they will win their game against KKR.
At the expense of embarrassing myself, I am discounting the possibility of RR making it through on the basis of Net Run Rate. There is no way in god’s green earth that they can overtake DC or RCB on NRR right now. They’d have to pull a 2014 Mumbai Indians (google it, I can’t talk about that game) to get through on NRR now.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Just copy paste the paragraphs above, but cut out the part about ‘staggering form’. KKR have been astonishingly feeble in the latter half of the tournament. They are actually coming off 2 consecutive losses, while RR is coming off 2 consecutive wins. So this is not exactly an ideal situation for them. All they can hope for is that RR slips up, and KXIP slips up, and SRH slips up. Quite probable in my opinion.
So that was it from my side about the qualification scenarios for each team. Now for my playoff predictions :-
- Mumbai Indians
- Delhi Capitals
- Kings XI Punjab
- Royal Challengers
- Rajasthan Royals
- Sunrisers Hyderabad
- Kolkata Knight Riders
- Chennai Super Kings