Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
New Delhi: Finally, on Sunday night, all four teams were decided for this year`s Indian Premier League play-off rounds. Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab had already secure their places for the next round. But the only team that entered the play-offs in a dramatic manner, through its last leaue game, were the defending champions – Mumbai Indians.
Last night, they not only thrashed Rajasthan Royals but also won the game within the required overs to qualify for the next stage.
Once, Rajasthan Royals put up a total of 189 runs on board, it was looking almost impossible for the title holders to seal the game in 14.3 overs. But Corey Anderson, the Kiwi all-rounder of MI, who hadn`t perform upto his caliber in the League, played a blinder of 44-ball 95 to make sure that his team reached the next stage of the league.
Out of the four qualified teams, two teams – Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings – have performed quite consistently throughout this edition. KXIP have won 11 matches out of their 14. On the other hand, MS Dhoni-led CSK, who are known for rising their level in the second half of the tournament, have also surprised everyone with their consistent performance from the beginning of the tournament, albeit, they lost their last three league matches on the bounce.
If these two teams have made it to the play-offs without much of a difficulty, the other two teams, MI and KKR, have picked the tempo from the Indian-leg of the tournament. KKR have won nine matches out of their 14 in the league stages, out of which seven of their wins came in their last seven games, which helped them finish second in the points tally. Similarly, MI have also won their last five matches to secure a berth in the next round, after losing all their five matches of the Dubai-leg.
Now it would be interesting to watch, whether the resurgent KKR and MI can stop the steady ships of CSK and KXIP from reaching the finals.