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How The Fate Of The Playoff Teams Got Decided

May 18, 2015


Since 2008 the months of April and May have been something special to the cricket fans. Every year since then we witnessed something new – new players, changes in the game plan from the teams, change in the way of thinking, the approach towards the game and the unseen incredible young Indian talents. Every year we have been made spellbound by overall packaging of thrill, drama and entertainment. Every time as the tournament ended we declared that to be the best of the lot till date. And just when we start thinking that we can’t anything better than this, a year later the Indian Premier League reappears with an even more exciting season. That’s why it is one of the most entertaining shows in the world right now.

We already have a strong ground to call this season the best IPL season ever, but I feel as the tournament is not over yet, it is definitely going to flourish more. So whether it is the best season or not, or how much is the goodness of this year’s IPL is something that we better discuss a week later. Today I am here to enlighten something else. Last time I posted here, I mentioned how quickly the things change in IPL. And now as I am about to post again, I’ll have to start my proceedings from where I left. Things don’t change until someone makes a mistake and the others capitalize on that. So this article is about how the teams getting knocked out presented opportunities to the ones who progressed, and how the latter grabbed it with both hands.

The suspense went down to the final day of the final round. 5 teams had been battling for the 3 places of playoffs. 2 teams had to go out and at the end, one have to say that the two teams who had the upper hand over the other three, eventually gave it away when it mattered the most. By the way, it has been another prolific performance from the Chennai Super Kings. During their effortless journey to the playoffs they had no worries about finishing in the top 2. But the other 5 had to wait till the very end and their fates were decided during the last two rounds. Let us see how.

Kolkata Knight Riders:

  1. It is really hard to understand what might have been the thought after selection of Azhar Mahmood in a do or die match against RR. It was his first game and he never looked like standing tall under pressure. He failed with the ball and also disappointed when his chance came at a crucial stage of their batting.
  2. In both of their last two matches they took themselves into positions from where batting with a little common sense could have won them the matches. Against RR they hardly needed to go after Chris Morris, could easily have seen him through but Russel threw his wicket away, which turned out to be the turning point of the match.
  3. The way Piyush Chawla batted against Pollard had a lot to do with KKR’s elimination. It was almost evident that he is going to bowl the slower more often than not, but Chawla did not seem to read the bowler’s mind. He was beaten thrice in a row attempting the advanced shot and every time the ball passed the bat way after the shot had been played.

Rajasthan Royals:

  1. Shane Watson, the best player of Rajasthan Royals over all the IPL seasons was not going through the greatest of forms. But like the big players deliver on the big day, Watson showed his essence scoring an unbeaten hundred and chipping in a couple with the ball. Undoubtedly a grand performance on the decisive day.
  2. Chris Morris’ contribution with the ball was a match winning one too. He came in to bowl under pressure situations with the set batsmen batting. Most importantly for his team he picked up wickets when it was needed the most.

Royal Challengers Bangalore:

RCB applied themselves really well to seal there place to the top 4. They played according to their strength. They kept faith on their stronger department which has always been batting. At times they have completely outscored their opponents, something which we saw in their match against Mumbai Indians. Even after 5 of their matches being hit by the rain, they didn’t feel disturbed and kept playing their normal game. So often we saw that they have to chase targets at 10-plus runs per over right from the outset, but it was amazing the way they backed their strength every time, which I felt to be the best thing about them in this tournament. They could have ended up at the 2nd position, but when it comes to rain, it is beyond everyone’s control.

Sunrisers Hyderabad:

  1. David Warner did so much with the bat, pull off stunners in the field and captained his side really well until he made the mess of Virat Kohli’s catch. Being the best fielder of the team and being there at the boundary for that particular shot, it was his responsibility to first make sure that he completes the catch cleanly before he starts celebrating. He would have had all the time in the world to celebrate that catch, the victory and thereby confirming their place to the playoffs; but you just have to keep waiting for the right time. Doing it all too early has halted their next celebration till one year.
  2. Somehow Warner could not come out of the hangover of the previous incident and that seemed to have affected his captaincy as well. Even though their match against MI was lost in the first 10 overs, but still when they had nothing to lose they should have been aggressive with their field placements. Removing slips after the bowler was hit for one drive did not indicate their urgency of picking up early wickets.

Mumbai Indians:

Losing 5 out of the first 6 matches and then finishing at the 2nd place after the group stage is nothing shorter than a miracle. At one stage they were in a position from where they had to win almost every single match. Enormous contribution from every player has made it possible. But if we talk about their run in the final lap, possibly the biggest factor was Pollard’s last over against KKR. Although the batsman kept missing his slower deliveries, yet you can’t take anything away from the big fellow. He had to be brave enough to back himself for bowling those slower ones in the right length. Luck favors the brave, and boy, he did show some bravery that night! On the decisive game against SRH the MI bowlers were spot on. McClenaghen, the man of the match, along with Malinga bowled exceptionally well upfront with the new ball. Suchit and Harbhajan in the middle overs made sure that SRH don’t get carried away. The catches were taken. Altogether it was a complete performance under the clinical supervision of Rohit Sharma.

There is very little to choose between the teams as one can see 3 of the 4 are on equal points on the points table. Even CSK are just 2 points ahead. With the kind of uncertainty this game bears anything can happen in the playoffs. Don’t miss out.

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