IPL Season has just flown by, and we’re already approaching the playoffs. The points table stand as follows:
- Chennai Super Kings (16 points, NRR = +0.646)
- Royal Challengers Bangalore (15 points, NRR = +1.037)
- Kolkata Knight Riders (15 points, NRR = +0.315)
- Sunrisers Hyderabad (14 points, NRR = -0.033)
- Mumbai Indians (14 points, NRR = = -0.259)
- Rajasthan Royals (14 points, NRR = +0.027)
- Delhi Daredevils (10 points,, NRR = -0.049)
- Kings XI Punjab (6 points, NRR = -1.425)
As you can see, the points table is quite close. Everyone in the first 6 spots is within a difference of two points. Hence, these last few league matches promise to be quite exciting. Every team is playing, so whether you want to be there as your team makes the semis, or you support DD and/or KXIP, You’ll want to know the schedule for the next 2 days (last two of the league stage):
- Today (Saturday, May 16 2015):
- KXIP vs. CSK at Mohali (4:30 PM IST)
- RR vs. KKR at Mumbai (7:30 PM IST)
- Tomorrow (Sunday, May 17th 2015)
- RCB vs. DD at Bangalore
- SRH vs. MI at Hyderabad
Every one of these matches can be important for you (again, unless you support DD and/or KXIP), even if your team is not playing. But how do you know what matches are important? Who should you be supporting? Well, here I’ll do some analysis of crucial matches for each team, who you should be rooting for in them. I’ll also be doing a little summary on what each team needs to do to qualify.
1. Chennai Super Kings.
What they need to do to qualify: Nothing (they’re already in)
Crucial match: KXIP vs. CSK (CSK to win, if you didn’t figure that out)
With 16 points in 13 games, CSK have assured themselves a place in the semifinals. Not even the most absurd and unlikely results could bring them any lower than 4th place. However, the men in yellow would still like to take a swing at the bottom-placed KXIP side to finish with 18 points, and gain an assured spot in the top two.
2. Royal Challengers Bangalore
What they need to do to qualify: Almost nothing (just don’t lose to Delhi by a ridiculously large margin).
Crucial match: RR vs. KKR (KKR to win)
RCB have made quite a comeback in this IPL. After stuttering with 2 points in 4 games, they’ve made a dramatic turn-around to lose only 2 of their next 9 (one washout). Their massive-margin victories have yielded great fruits now as their staggering +1.037 net run rate gives them a massive edge over KKR, who also have the same number of points. Because of this, they are all but assured a spot in the semifinals. If KKR win in their game vs. RR, then RCB will be through, regardless of their clash vs. DD. If RR win however, RCB will just need to make sure that their NRR does not drop below that of KKR as they take on DD in order to qualify. However, considering that KKR’s net run rate is roughly 0.7 below that of RCB (and will sink even lower if they lose to RR), this is extremely unlikely to happen. Nonetheless, RCB will be eyeing to land a killer blow on the Daredevils, and book their place in the top two with 17 points.
3. Kolkata Knight Riders
What they need to do to qualify: Beat Rajasthan.
Crucial match: RR vs. KKR (KKR to win)
The defending champions have not run through as smoothly as they did last year. Nonetheless, they are still in the top 4, and will be eyeing to seal that semifinal berth. To get this, the equation is simple: beat Rajasthan. If they were to lose, however, they would need to pray for a rainwash in the SRH-MI match, lest they be knocked out by the winner of that game. If they beat RR, they’ll be hoping for DD to beat RCB so they can seal a top two spot.
4. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians
What they need to do to qualify: Beat the other one.
Crucial match: SRH vs. MI (whoever you want to qualify must win).
Both MI and SRH are in a very similar situation, so I thought it would be convenient to group them together. Both have 14 points, but SRH is above MI courtesy of a higher net run rate. SRH have been shaky throughout the tournament, but have managed to win games with fair regularity. MI on the other hand, started of disastrously, losing 4/4, but then made quite the turnaround to lose only twice in their next 9 games. The equation for these two teams is simple too: winner qualifies, period. Neither of these teams has a chance of making the top two, however. The last thing either of them would want is a rainwash, as it would mean that neither of them would qualify. The only exception would be if Rajasthan beat KKR by a enough to push their NRR below that of SRH, in which case the men from Hyderabad would qualify.
5. Rajasthan Royals
What they need to do to qualify: Beat KKR
Crucial match: RR vs. KKR (RR to win).
It’s really surprising how Rajasthan managed to get themselves into this position. They won their first 5 games, but could only gather a further 4 points in their next 8 and are now 6th. Their equation to qualify (like that of many others above) is very simple: beat KKR. If they don’t, they’re out, and if they do they get in. They don’t have a hope of making the second place spot either, so they’ll just want to try for a win here, and nothing more.
6. Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils
What they need to do to qualify: Wait until the next IPL (no hope).
Crucial match: RCB vs. DD and KXIP vs. CSK (for pride)
It’s really sad to see KXIP end the way they did. The batting lineup that scored 200 four times last year has failed miserably, and their bowling attack has been dismal. They won more matches in their first 5 last year than they did in 13 this year, and now it’s all done for last year’s finalists. For Delhi, there was some fun to be had, as they pulled off some truly remarkable victories and made some brilliant performances. However, they just couldn’t keep the fire blazing long enough, and are now at 7th. They have nothing to play for now but pride, so hopefully they’ll come out all guns blazing to give their fans something to cheer about.