Week 6 gave us our first round of qualification and elimination but there is a lot at stake in the last set of group matches. Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals were the first sides to the play while we said an inevitable goodbye to Royal Challengers Bangalore after their rain-ruined game with Rajasthan Royals.
Week 7 starts with five franchises pursuing those two remaining playoff slots. So, what do we have in store over the few days?
Mumbai on the Brink
Mumbai Indians can join CSK along with the Capitals in the next round if they conquer Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday. Mumbai certainly have the support of their bookmakers here since Rohit Sharma’s men go away at -161, while SRH are on offer at +130.
There is surely a potential for an upset but it all is dependent upon how the Sunrisers respond to this loss of key personnel. Jonny Bairstow and David Warner have both left to report for international duty before the World Cup therefore Hyderabad need Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill to measure up. Mumbai have less worries and greater squad thickness and they ought to seal that next playoff slot.
If Mumbai do undergo, Friday’s contest between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders might have a huge say in determining the last playoff place. Both teams are locked on 10 points ahead of the match and the winner will have the chance to fight it out using the Sunrisers to get a top four finish. In terms of the chances, the current market is predictably tight with Kings XI Punjab marginal favourites at -105,followed by KKR at +100.
This could be as tight as the market indicates and while Kings barely deserve to be classed as favourites, they possess the in-form batsmen who will decide the destiny of the tie. It’s around Chris Gayle and KL Rahul plus some overdue support from David Miller, also if those batsmen fire, we can expect Punjab to grab the points.
It’s our last weekend of team games and from Sunday night, the initial pair of playoff fixtures will probably be confirmed. It starts on Saturday morning as the Delhi Capitals host Rajasthan Royals and both teams should still be needing the points. The Royals have dimmed hopes of qualifying while Delhi are aiming to finish inside the top two.
While Rajasthan sit +137 the Capitals are in the markets in -175. There might be scope for an upset here however, and Delhi’s dramatic batting collapse contrary to Chennai on Wednesday suggests they are running out of steam in the late stage of the season.
Next up would be the Royal Challengers who sign off to another disappointing campaign. Sunrisers Hyderabad will be the visitors to the M Chinnaswamy and, while we wait for chances to come in with this one, SRH should start as slight favourites. RCB are the toughest team to forecast this year and with Hyderabad afflicted by squad withdrawals, Virat Kohli and his guys have a good opportunity to leave IPL 12 using a triumph.
On to Sunday and we begin with Kings XI Punjab hosting table toppers Chennai Super Kings. KXIP have a faint chance of qualifying at the time of writing but they’re known for falling in form throughout the second half of the effort. We’ve already seen signs of that in the second half of these groups and we expect the Super Kings to make the most and ship Punjab home.