It’s the final week of the Indian Premier League 2018 as the roller-coaster ride of a season comes to a close. But wait, the ride isn’t over yet! With the top four teams selected, we have four nail-biting, heart-palpitating matches to go to crown the winner of the eleventh season of the cash-rich league.
How does this work?
The remaining four matches will take place in the following order:
(1) Qualifier 1
(3) Qualifier 2
The Qualifier 1 will see the top two teams, in this case, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, compete with each other. The loser of this round moves to Qualifier 2 while the winner gets a direct ticket to the Final. The Eliminator will be between the remaining two teams, in this case, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders. The winner of this match will move forward to the Qualifier 2 as well while the loser faces elimination and is out of the tournament. This means Qualifier 2 will be a match between the loser of Qualifier 1 and the winner of Eliminator. The subsequent winner of this match moves to the final and clashes with the winner of Qualifier 1 and then we finally get our actual winner!
Who are the four teams?
Let’s talk about their chances.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Led by Kane Williamson, this team became the first to qualify for the playoffs and have retained their position on top, up till now.
They have won nine games out of fourteen and stand with 18 points and a net run rate of +0.284.
Mathematically, despite the losses, SRH still stands as the best bowling side of the tournament with an average economy rate of 8.19. Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Khan Pathan, and Rashid Khan are the top three bowlers.
They have the second-best average runs per wicket at 25.50.
Kane Williamson is in the running for the Orange Cap at a total of 661 runs at an average of 60.09 with eight half-centuries.
SRH has had five losses – three of which were the last three matches against CSK, RCB, and KKR. They’ve been out of form lately but now with no gap to make mistakes, it’s highly likely they will be working hard on eradicating their weaknesses.
Chennai Super Kings: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has brought his team all the way to the playoffs after a two-year ban. They snatched the second playoff seat at 16 points.
Now, with their recent win against Kings XI Punjab, they stand second with 18 points and a net run rate slightly lower than SRH – +0.253.
Mathematically, CSK has the best batting side of the tournament with an average of 37.13/wicket and a scoring rate of 9.03. Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni have the highest batting averages.
Shardul Thakur is their highest wicket-taker with 14 wickets in eleven games.
CSK started the season on a winning note but the last nine matches have seen their winning curve take the form of a sine wave, with every win followed by a loss. The team, however, seems to have an upper hand over SRH being the only team who has beaten them in both encounters this season. Hence, they are highly likely to break the trend.
Kolkata Knight Riders: The Dinesh Karthik-led side is placed third at 16 points and a net run rate of -0.070.
KKR has had a very inconsistent season and just made it to the playoffs with three consecutive wins against the table-toppers, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals.
Dinesh Karthik has been a great captain for the two-time IPL title winners so far, surpassing even ex-captain Gautam Gambhir in terms of contribution. He has been a reliable finisher and is the highest scoring batsmen in the team at 438 runs.
Sunil Narine leads the bowling front with 16 wickets in his hand.
They will be facing the Rajasthan Royals in an Eliminator next. They have an upper hand over the RR, defeating them both times they’ve clashed this season.
Rajasthan Royals: Also coming back from a two-year ban, the team is placed fourth at 14 points and a net run rate of -0.250. Ajinkya Rahane captains the team.
RR sealed the playoff berth with KXIP’s defeat by the Chennai Super Kings in the final match before the playoffs. RR has been on all parts of the spectrum this season, including the bottom. They made it back just before the playoffs gate closed with four wins out of the last five games.
Leg-break bowler Shreyas Gopal won them their match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
When is it happening?
|Match||Teams||Date and Time||Venue|
|May 22nd, 20:00 IST||Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai|
|May 23rd, 20:00 IST||Eden Gardens, Kolkata|
|Qualifier 2||Loser of Qualifier 1
Winner of Eliminator
|May 25th, 20:00 IST||Eden Gardens, Kolkata|
Winner of Qualifier 1
|May 27th, 20:00 IST||Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai|