Ben Stokes

The four final contenders for the coveted IPL 2017 title has now been decided after much excitement and climax. Mumbai Indians was the first to qualify, Kolkata Knight Riders despite committing grave blunders towards the late part of the league stages still managed to end with the third spot. Rising Pune Supergiant edged out Kings XI Punjab brilliantly to make it to the qualifiers directly whereas defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad had strong luck by their side and finished with the 4th place.

The contest will now heat up. It’s going to be all or nothing for the four teams. However, the playoffs would be less glamorous than it would have been originally. The reason being the departure of the overseas superstars due to international commitments.

All franchises had more than a couple of key men in their side and would miss their services badly.

With the Champions Trophy approaching, all the international teams wants to ensure that their respective players are well rested to participate in the multi-nation tournament which is set to start from June 1st in England.

English and the Proteas players, in fact, have a 3-match bilateral series that precedes the tournament. So they were the one who left at the earliest. On the other hand, New Zealand cricket board has asked all its players as the board them to be fresh before heading to England

Only the Australians are set to stay back until the end of the tournament which is good news as two franchises boasted of Australian skippers this season. Steven Smith is leading Rising Pune Supergiant, while David Warner is in charge of the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

All the four qualified teams- Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rising Pune Supergiant – have suffered dents due to the departures of overseas players.

KKR will be without Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme and Trent Boult; Mumbai Indians will be without Jos Buttler and Tim Southee, Sunrisers Hyderabad will miss the services of Kane Williamson while Rising Pune Supergiant has now been forced to manage without three of the biggest names in their squad – Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and Ben Stokes.

The complete list of foreign players missing ahead of the playoffs:

Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson, Hashim Amla, David Miller, Imran Tahir, Kane Williamson.

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