New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) With the race to the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs heating up, there were three teams on 14 points each ahead of Monday night’s game between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
Mumbai Indians (MI), Delhi Capitals (DC) and Royals Challengers Bangalore (RCB) all have 14 points after 11 matches. If KKR win the game on Monday, then they too will move to 14. Although that will make things difficult for KXIP, the Punjab outfit will still have a chance.
Even bottom-placed teams like SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH), who are on seventh spot with eight points in 11 matches, and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who are at the last position with eight points in 12 matches, are still technically in the race, although their fate depends on other teams’ results too, besides the condition that they will have to win all their matches.
These permutations and combinations continue the trend that sees race to play-offs going down to the wire every year, although this time it appears more keenly fought than in the last few years.
Here’s how the race to play-offs has panned out during the last bend over the last five years:
SRH, KKR and KXIP were locked on 12 points but SRH moved ahead to playoffs because of better net run rate, grabbing the fourth position behind MI, CSK and DC who qualified as top three teams with 18 points. KXIP were looking good after nine games but lost four of their last five games, allowing SRH to make it despite losing two of their last three games — in fact, four of their last five. KKR put up a late fight, winning two of their last three games, to move from eight points to 12.
KKR won their last three matches, moved up from 10 to 16 points and qualify as the third team behind SRH and CSK who had 18 points. KXIP had looked good, but lost their last five matches and couldn’t move ahead from 12 points and failed to make the play-offs. After 11 games, MI were on 10 points. But they won one of their last three games and crashed out of the race. RR won two of their last three games and ended at 14 points to qualify as the fourth team.
SRH moved to 17 points — with one no result — after two wins in last two matches and KXIP, who could have finished at least ahead of KKR on fourth position with 16 points, lost their last game to Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) by nine wickets to finish fifth with 14 points. Their net run rate too took a plunge after the humiliating loss. RPS won five of their last six matches, and two of their last three to move to 18 points and finished second behind MI with 20 points.
While Gujarat Lions finished on top with 18 points, three teams qualified with 16 points each. RCB won their last four games to finish amongst the top two while eventual champions SRH finished third and KKR ended fourth on the points table. MI who were looking good, lost two of their last three matches to finish on 14 points and Delhi Daredevils lost three of their last four games to end at 14.
MI won their last two games to end second in the league phase with 16 points due to better net run rate. RCB (3rd) and RR (4th) too had 16 points each. Both RCB and RR could qualify because SRH and KKR who were in the race lost their last two games, with SRH losing to MI by nine wickets and helping the Mumbai franchise improve their run rate. KKR’s last two defeats included one against MI.