We are in the second half of IPL 2019 and the competition for a play-off berth will intensify with each game. A few teams such as RCB and RR are all but out of the race, but nothing can be ruled out yet.
If any top team faces a slump in form, then the bottom-placed sides can rise in the table if they perform well.
So, what are each team’s chances for a play-off berth? Cricwizz takes a look at how each team has fared so far, and what they need to do to qualify for play-offs.
Chennai Super Kings
They have been the most consistent team in the tournament. They have won a few close games and they lead the pack with 14 points from 9 games, having won 7 games so far.
They have the experience to bail themselves out of any pressure situation. They have an inspiring leader in MS Dhoni who is guiding his ageing warriors extremely well. Besides, Dhoni is leading from the front and inspiring his teammates to give their best. They have banked on team efforts rather than just individual brilliance and that show in the results. They have someone or the other raising their hands to do the job for the team.
No weakness as such, but they have not been ruthless enough as they would have liked. They have won a few last-over thrillers and the matches could have gone either way. They need to finish off games much earlier than leave it to last over.
At the moment, CSK are favourites to top the group. They are almost there in play-offs. But they would look to avoid complacency and win every match from now on to claim the top two spots in the table so that they get two chances to qualify for the final.
Delhi Capitals are on a roll, with three consecutive wins. It helped them climb to second in the table with 10 points from 8 games, having won 5 matches.
They are a well-oiled unit across all sectors. They have the batting firepower in Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. Their bowling too is responding well to their star batting line-up. K Rabada is the leading wicket-taker so far and has given the team breakthroughs at crucial junctures. Ishant Sharma is too bowling well. Axar Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra too are backing up the main bowlers.
Although they boast of a quality batting unit with strokemakers, they have to be wary of collapses that may cost them a game or a play-off berth. They grabbed defeat from jaws of victory against Kings XI Punjab, losing 7 wickets for 8 runs. They need to avoid complacency now, having won three matches on the trot.
They need to win at least two more games out of 6 to claim a play-off berth. But any team’s target would be to claim the top two spots. So, they must target at least 3 to 4 wins out of 6 to grab a top two spot.
For a change, Mumbai Indians have started well and looking good for a play-off berth. They are currently third in the points table, with 10 points from 8 games, having won 5 matches.
Mumbai Indians have been blessed with match-winners across all departments. And all have been among the runs and wickets. Mumbai have a set opening pair now in Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma who has given sound starts consistently. Their all-rounder in Pandya brothers, Kieron Pollard have contributed with the bat to add depth to the batting line-up. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan have shown promise. The bowling led by Jasprit Bumrah with the experienced Lasith Malinga has delivered consistently.
Their spin department is a cause of worry with youngster Rahul Chahar yet to deliver on the expectations. Krunal Pandya is more of a batting all-rounder and hence, the poor spin department can hurt Mumbai when faced with a tricky and spin-friendly condition. Chahar, Krunal need to do more to make MI one of the favourites for a play-off berth.
Mumbai Indians have ridden their luck and on individual brilliance to occupy the third spot in the table. But the competition will get more intense from now on. They need to win at least 2 matches more out of 6 games to confirm a play-off berth.
Kings XI Punjab
R Ashwin is leading from the front for KXIP. Punjab are 4th in the table currently, with 10 points from 9 matches, having won 5 games.
Chris Gayle and KL Rahul have been giving brilliant starts to KXIP consistently. They have made sure the middle-order frailty is not exposed as either of them has batted till the end. Rahul may not be his destructive self but has taken the responsibility to be the anchor of the ship. Gayle has been at his destructive best and has delivered the goods consistently. Punjab depend a lot on these two players to make the bulk of the scoring and put the team on winning spots often.
Punjab’s middle-order is slightly weak as after Gayle, Rahul, and Mayank Agarwal, none of the other batsmen has taken responsibility to finish off games. The likes of David Miller, Karun Nair, and Mandeep Singh have flattered to deceive. Also, Punjab have chopped and changed their line-up frequently, especially the bowling attack, thus giving it an unstable look.
Despite the numerous problems they have, Punjab sit pretty at 4 because of winning a few close games. Ashwin is inspiring his team to grab the key moments and that have worked for them. If Punjab put up team effort, then they should be able to make it to play-offs. They have to win another two games out of 5 to claim a play-off berth. But if a few teams get stranded on 14 points, then the team with better net run-rate will qualify. Hence, they have to work on the net run-rate too.
SRH were one of the favourites before the tournament but are now just staying afloat for a play-off berth. They have 8 points from 8 games, having won four matches.
Whenever the opening duo of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow has fired, SRH have won the game. The two have been destructive in the tournament and have matched each other stroke for stroke. Their record 185-run stand paved the way for a big win against RCB. Warner has been the most consistent, striking six scores of 50 and more, including a ton, in 8 innings. The two can take apart any bowling attack in the world.
SRH kept Kane Williamson out for a spinner in Mohammad Nabi and that weakened their middle-order. The likes of Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda failed to continue the good work done by the openers and hence, SRH failed to finish off games or end the innings in a flourish. They brought back Kane Williamson who is yet to hit top gear. Unless they resolve their middle-order woes, it’s going to be a tough ride for SRH.
SRH are a quality team on paper and they should give a tough fight for a play-off berth. They are last year’s finalist and won’t go down easily. They need to win at least 3 games out of 6 to book a play-off berth.
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR are a strong team but have been inconsistent so far. They stand 6th in the table, with 8 points from 8 games, having won four matches so far.
They boast of match-winners in Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Kuldeep Yadav, and Dinesh Karthik. They all have produced at least one fine performance in IPL 2019. Russell has been the most consistent and won few close games with his power hitting. He won three matches out of four thanks to his late heroics with the bat.
Their pace bowling department lacks quality as they miss a few star players due to injury. The back-up has not fared well so far. Besides, KKR are heavily dependent on Russell to bail them out every single time. Besides, the inconsistencies among the batsmen and bowlers have hurt KKR so far. KKR need a better team effort to win games and qualify for play-offs.
They are still in running for play-offs, despite winning just 4 games out of 8. KKR need to win three games out of 6 to qualify for play-offs. But they must target a better net run-rate as well in case a couple of teams are stranded on 14 points.
Rajasthan Royals find themselves at No 7 spot with just 4 points out of 8 matches, having won just two games. They have no one but themselves to blame for this position.
Royals have a batting line-up to be envy of. They have Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Ben Stokes and they should have fancied their chances in the tournament. They have a good bowling line-up as well with Dhawan Kulkarni, Jofra Archer spearheading the pace department, and cunning Shreyas Gopal leading the spin attack. But the batting and bowling have not fired in unison so far.
Rajasthan Royals boast of one of the best batting units in the competition. But they lie at the bottom of the table as they have failed to finish off games. They lost two close games against CSK which they should have won. They are too dependent on Jos Buttler to give them the required starts to the innings. The likes of Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane and Ben Stokes have been inconsistent with the bat to give their bowlers any chance to defend total or chase down any target with ease.
Royals can still make it if they win all their remaining games with good margin and hope others teams fare poorly.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
It’s ‘shame old story’ for RCB. They are again at the bottom of the table. They have posted just one win out of 8 games and are virtually out of the tournament.
They have two of the world’s best batsman in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The two have tried their best in the tournament to lift RCB’s fortunes with their batting. But the lack of support from other batsmen has hurt them and RCB’s chances. They also have a world-class spinner in YS Chahal. But three good players do not make a team.
Too much dependence on Kohli-ABD makes them an easy recipe for disaster. Other than Moeen Ali, none of the other batsmen has shown application to stay on the wicket and score runs for the team. Besides, RCB bowlers have leaked runs in the death, with all bowlers guilty of spraying the ball around. Besides, Kohli’s captaincy has been below-par, failing to lift the standards of the team’s game overall.
Another loss would mean RCB will be out of the tournament. But if they win all their remaining 6 games with a better net run-rate, they can still qualify, considering other top teams get stranded on 14 points. But it’s too much of a task for a team that has suffered six consecutive losses at the start of the tournament.
Cricwizz’s four teams: Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals
(Note: The stats and figures are till April 17)