Cracker in offing after exciting league phase

Published on May 19, 2015 00:55:49 AM
Sports
The ongoing eighth edition of Indian Premier League is the most competitive tournament since its inception in the year 2008. The final play-off berths were never decided so late, in its brief history.

The ever-consistent Chennai Super Kings team under the reigns of MS Dhoni was the only team to book a play-off berth long before, while the next three places were decided on their respective last league matches. Even in terms of unpredictability, this edition is the most exciting one.

Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders were occupying second spot for the first half of the league. However, they now see themselves out of the playoffs. Runner-ups Kings XI Punjab had a miserable run as they were out of the final-four race long ago. The story of Delhi Daredevils remains the same over years, despite the owners shelling out a purse of Rs 16 crore for Yuvraj Singh who failed to change the team’s fortunes.

Reaching out to the business end of the cash-rich tourney, along with CSK, Mumbai Indians occupied the second spot and were followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals. While CSK went through their business without any fuss, much of the credit must be given to Dhoni for the way he led his side. The presence of Dwayne Bravo, the purple cap holder with 20 wickets, and the core team for years made it formidable.

At one point, Mumbai looked out of sorts. But they found the mojo half-way through the tournament. The hopes of RCB were heavily relied on Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Living up to their reputation, they clicked in unison. Kohli (481) and AB (446) are placed in third and fourth places of the highest run-getter list while Gayle (423) is in seventh place. The Vijay Mallya side also got lucky to get full points against Sunrisers Hyderabad on a rain-curtailed match that proved decisive for their march.

Rajasthan Royals too were going about their business without any fuss. Their campaign got the fillip when Shane Watson joined their ranks recovering from an injury. He, in the company of Ajinkya Rahane, earned his side another shot at the title.

Sunrisers Hyderabad, who had a topsy-turvy campaign at the beginning, got into the winning momentum on the back of their skipper David Warner. He led the team from the front with his superb batting. The orange cap holder with 562 runs, smashed seven half-centuries, most by a batsman this season. And it was him that brought his side’s campaign to an end. He took a superb catch of Virat Kohli but failed to hold his ground crossing the boundary line to put RCB through. SRH batting failure in crucial match against MI ended their campaign.

After an exciting phase, the IPL is set for another showdown with play-offs. CSK will lock horns with MI in the first Qualifier 1, but in the absence of their opener Brendon McCullum. Meanwhile, RCB and RR will play in Eliminator. The loser of the Qualifier 1 and the winner of the Eliminator will face off for a place in the final. A cracker of the final week is in the offing for cricket fans. Just sit back and fasten your seat belt.
shiva krishna gundra

Playoffs
Qualifier 1 19/05/15
CSK vs MI
Eliminator - 20/05/15
RCB vs RR
Qualifier2 - 22/05/15
Qualifier1 loser - vs - Eliminator winner
Final - 24/05/15
Qualifier-1 vs Qualifier-2