The league stage of the IPL is over and we now know the four teams that have made it to the play-offs in IPL 7. There was a lot of drama in the end stages of the league tournament but the fans have sure got their money’s worth during the weekend. Let us first talk about the losing teams that failed to make the cut. Bangalore finished second last in the table just above the horrendous Delhi Daredevils which would be very disappointed for the star studded franchise. They have a lot to think about for next year as their main batsmen were inconsistent and their bowlers have given no confidence to the captain either. Chris Gayle was the biggest disappointment in this year’s IPL and the main reason for Bangalore’s exit. Bangalore was in with a good chance but they failed to win even a single match out of their remaining three matches.
Hyderabad did not have too much momentum in the UAE stage of the tournament but picked up soon after coming back to India. They did not have a good net run rate so had to win their final match against Kolkata by a huge margin. They failed to even win the match and hence were knocked out of the tournament. Hyderabad tried their best but could not match up to the other teams. The injury to Coulter-Nile in the early part of the tournament was a big blow. Not winning matches at home cost them as well. They had a pretty good run at home last year but could not repeat their feat this year. They have a good team with explosive batsmen in Warner and Finch while Dale Steyn heads the bowling. They need to be consistent next year if they want to have a shot at the title.
Kolkata enjoyed a great winning run of seven matches to peg back even Chennai Super Kings. Kolkata played their last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad with Hyderabad needing to win to stay in the competition. However, it was also a match that Kolkata could use to increase their run rate. A sterling knock by Yusuf Pathan ensured that not only did Kolkata win the match but also edge ahead of Chennai Super Kings on account of net run rate. Chennai Super Kings had just beaten Bangalore earlier in the day with a couple of overs to spare making the task even more difficult for Kolkata. But, a loss to Kolkata earlier in the week opened up the gates for KKR to make it to the top two. KKR responded well as they showed aggression from the start against Hyderabad and were taken home by a knock of 72 off 22 balls from the burly Yusuf Pathan. By virtue of their big win they ended up second in the points table and get to play their match against table toppers Punjab at Kolkata.
Kings XI Punjab carried on their great form and made it to the top of the table pretty convincingly. They lost a bit of steam towards the end as they lost to Kolkata and Mumbai. But, they got back to winning ways in their final game against Delhi Daredevils. The biggest win of the league stage definitely went to Mumbai Indians in their final match against Rajasthan. Rajasthan simply needed to ensure that Mumbai do not win by a big margin in order to qualify for the play-offs. Rajasthan batted first and were led to a score of 189 thanks to two amazing knocks by Karun Nair and Sanju Samson. However, Mumbai was prepared to take on any score as they knew they had to win in 14.3 overs. So, they included Corey Anderson in the team and it paid off very well as Anderson smashed 95 off 45 balls to take Mumbai to the play-offs. There was a lot of confusion towards the end of the match as the scores were tied after 14.3 overs but a six from youngster Aditya Tare on the next ball sealed the fate for both Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. Mumbai will take on Chennai in the eliminator at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai.