The league stage of the 2017 IPL has concluded on Sunday with Rising Pune Supergiant becoming the fourth and final team to seal passage to the play-off stage of the season’s tenth edition, meaning that the business end is ready to roll.
The first qualifier match will be played on May 16 at the Wankhede Stadium between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant, while the Eliminator will be between defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and two-time winners Kolkata Knight Riders at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium on May 17.
The second Qualifier will also be in Bangalore on May 19 and the final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium at Uppal on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
In the first three seasons of the IPL, the knockout stage comprised of two semi-finals and the final which meant that four teams had an equal chance of reaching the summit.
With the introduction in 2011 of two Qualifiers and the Eliminator, there was added incentive to the teams to finish first and second in the league stage.
By doing so, the No 1 and 2 teams on the points table face off with the winner automatically going to the final. The loser of this match gets a second opportunity to qualify for the final, playing what is called the Eliminator.
Next, the Eliminator is played between the third and fourth ranked teams. Here, the winner gets to play the loser or Qualifier 1 in Qualifier 2, while the loser is eliminated from the play-offs. The winner of Qualifier 2 enters the final, facing the winner of Qualifier 1.
In IPL 2017, Mumbai Indians topped the league stage 20 points having won 10 of 14 matches. At second are Rising Pune Supergiant with 18 points courtesy nine wins out of 14 matches; this is the first time they have reached the play-offs.
At third with 17 points – which came with victory in their last match of the league stage – are SRH, and falling from second to fourth are KKR who ended with 16 points.
Meanwhile, Pune’s pace spearhead Jaydev Unadkat is second to only Purple Cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar with 21 wickets in 10 matches, which includes two Man-of-the-Match performances; the latest was on Sunday as Kings XI Punjab were shoved out of the competition.
The big-hitting West Indies allrounder Kieron Pollard heads Mumbai’s batting chart with 362 runs in 13 innings at a strike-rate of 141.40, with three fifties and several cameos, but it is Lendl Simmons on whom there will be much expectancy given his past play-offs form: three matches, three half-centuries and a strike-rate of 141.
From the SRH camp, David Warner is the league’s top run-getter with 604, and his starts with Shikhar Dhawan (458 runs) have been influential to the defending champions’ position.
For KKR, skipper Gautam Gambhir (454 runs), Chris Lynn (285 runs in five games) and allrounder Chris Woakes (17 wickets) could prove the most influential.
Full Schedule for the Playoffs:
|1.||May 16th,2017||Qualifier 1-Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant||Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai||8:00 P.M|
|2.||May 17th,2017||Eliminator-Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders||Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru||8:00 P.M|
|3.||May 19th, 2017||Qualifier 2- Loser of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Eliminator||Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru||8:00 P.M|
|4.||May 21st, 2017||Final-Winner of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Qualifier 2||Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad||8:00 P.M|
Source: Times of India.