Exactly, two weeks ago, Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians were the dominant force, Sunrisers Hyderabad was in a comfortable position while Rising Pune Supergiant, Gujarat Lions and Kings XI Punjab were vying for the fourth place in the table.
However, after the last couple of weeks of action, the complexion has changed completely. The Lions are out of the equation, defending champions Sunrisers’ has slipped to fourth and is currently fighting it out with Kings XI Punjab to qualification. RPS has jumped a place to the third position and carry a good chance of qualifying directly into the qualifiers.
Losing matches towards the business end of the league stages is a sin, be it any competition. And, if you commit the sin, you better be ready the consequences. Both Mumbai and Kolkata have committed the same horrible blunders.
MI, somehow, remain largely immune to all the playoffs battle but Kolkata has brought itself in a must-win situation. Both the teams play each other on May 13th. The outcome will largely decide whether who will occupy the top two positions in the points tally.
If MI wins, they retain their spot as they end with 20 points. But, if KKR, who have 16 points, edges them out there is a huge certainty that they may end as the top-ranked side if net run rate favours them. The other teams – Rising Pune Supergiant, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab will, however, hope KKR loses the upcoming game just to keep the equation simple and easy.
Rising Pune Supergiant are in a bit more comfortable position. By comfortable, we mean they have more opportunities with two matches remaining. With 8 wins in 12 matches, they also have 16 points. They need to win both the matches (against Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab) to finish leap ahead of KKR and finish at No. 2. They can afford to lose but would then end up at No. 3 and can only go ahead if KKR loses their upcoming game.
SRH, who have lost 2 out of their last 5 games, faces stiff completion from the rampaging Kings XI Punjab side. The Punjab side has won four out of their last five games and now stand on the verge of being throwing out of the playoffs race.
SRH has 15 points from 13 games and will be facing a must-win encounter against Gujarat Lions tomorrow. KXIP will also get challenged by another ambitious side – Rising Pune Supergiants.
The matter would be simple for SRH if they manage to beat the already eliminated Lions’ side. However, if they lose, their fate would lay in the hands of RPS. If the Steven Smith led side fails to beat KXIP, SRH would be eliminated at the last moment and KXIP will move ahead to the eliminator with 16 points to the 4th position.