Kings XI Punjab need only one win from sealing a play-off spot in IPL 7 © PTI
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 is reaching its business end. Abhijit Banare looks at the probable equations ahead for each team to qualify for the IPL 7 playoffs.
The two-day break for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014, thanks to the 2014 Lok Sabha election mania, provided a breather for the teams to assess their chances of a spot in the play-offs. There are 15 matches yet to be played in the group stage and there are a few teams still alive in the competiton and eyeing that spot to qualify for the play-offs. The scenario this time around is certainly different from the six seasons preceding it. The break gives these remaining 15 matches a true sense to the ‘business end’ of the IPL. Below is an assessment on what the teams need to do to qualify for the IPL 7 playoffs.
The safe zone: Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings
With 16 points after 10 matches each, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings are just a win away from sealing their respective spots in the IPL 2014 play-offs. It’s bizarre to even think of them bowing out with the form they are in. Punjab will be facing Delhi Daredevils once and should win easily. Whereas, Chennai face Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) twice; and play Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) once apiece. With one win required to qualify, both these teams look set for the last four.
The three-way battle between Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Bangalore: The team with the most inconsistent performances has somehow managed to stay afloat despite failing to hang onto winning opportunities. The equation for Bangalore is pretty clear. They have to win all the four matches and move to 16 points, which gives them a good chance of qualifying. They have two matches against Chennai, and one each against play-off hopefuls Hyderabad and Kolkata. These two matches will give an indication of who’s going ahead in the tournament. As mentioned before, Bangalore have to win all four matches and then depend on the net run-rates. No half-measures there!
Hyderabad: With only eight points in the bag, there is clear pressure on Hyderabad. On Sunday, they face Kolkata, a team that has 10 points. And they have one more game against Kolkata with the other two being against Bangalore and Chennai. They need three out of four wins to stand a chance of making it into the play-offs. And to be on safe side, Hyderabad have to ensure at least one of their wins against Kolkata does their net-run rate some good.
Kolkata: They are on 10 points and if they manage to win all four, they are certainly into the play-offs. But three wins out of four should do the trick for them. And by reversing the equation discussed for Hyderabad, they will have to beat Shikhar Dhawan’s team at least once and then beat Bangalore to emerge as the front runners. Among the three, Kolkata’s task seems to be the simplest. Win four matches and Kolkata are through or win three, which includes wins against Hyderabad and Bangalore. Or else it goes down to the wire; err net run-rate! (KKR are on the positive side which gives them an edge)
At this point, Kolkata are ahead on 10 points but it doesn’t take much time for a team to fall back. One defeat and the pressure is right on them.
Rajasthan Royals need two wins to book their place in the IPL 7 play-offs © PTI
Rajasthan Royals: With 14 points after 11 matches, Rajasthan are not completely safe. But with the form they are in, it seems to be a cakewalk. The equation is simple for Rajasthan. Win two out of three and they are through. If they win one out of three, they would have to depend on the net run-rate. But their net run-rate is far better than those below them. It’s unlikely that Rajasthan will lose all three. They face Mumbai Indians twice and Punjab once.
No Hope — Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians
Delhi will have to dig deep to find motivation to play the remaining four matches of this season. They have been dismal in all departments: the batsmen haven’t been consistent and the bowlers have been smashed around. Stagnated at four points, Delhi are out of contention.
Whereas for Mumbai, there is a small ray of hope with some mathematical possibilities of them making it to the play-offs. Their last hope of having their fate in their own hands was against Kolkata at Cuttack, a game they lost comfortably. In their remaining four matches, Mumbai face Rajasthan twice and once each against Delhi and Punjab. Even a win in all of these takes them to 14 points, which won’t be enough to edge past teams ranked higher with a better net run-rate. Thus, it may be safe to say that the defending champions cannot make it into the play-offs.
Click here for IPL 2014 Points Table and Team Standings
Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7
Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results
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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)