Week 6 gave us our initial round of qualification and removal but there is a lot at stake in the last set of group games. Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals were the first sides to the playoffs while we said an inevitable goodbye to Royal Challengers Bangalore following their rain-ruined match with Rajasthan Royals.
Week 7 begins with five franchises pursuing those two remaining playoff slots. What exactly do we have in store over the remaining 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 aid of the bookmakers here as Rohit Sharma’s guys go away at -161, while SRH are available at +130.
There is surely a potential for an upset but everything depends on how the Sunrisers respond to this loss of important personnel. Jonny Bairstow and David Warner have left to report for international duty before their World Cup therefore Hyderabad want 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 go through, Friday’s contest between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders could have a huge say in determining the final playoff place. Both teams are locked on 10 points before the game and the winner will have the opportunity to fight it out with the Sunrisers to get a top four finish. As for the odds, the current market is predictably tight using Kings XI Punjab marginal favourites at -105,followed by KKR at +100.
This could be as tight as the marketplace suggests and while Kings barely deserve to be classed as favourites, they possess the in-form batsmen who will decide the fate of the tie. It is around Chris Gayle and KL Rahul and some overdue support from David Miller, also when those batsmen fire, we can expect Punjab to snatch the points.
It is our last weekend of group games and by Sunday night, the first set of playoff fixtures will probably be confirmed. It begins on Saturday morning as the Delhi Capitals sponsor Rajasthan Royals and the two teams should still be needing these points. The Royals have dimmed hopes of qualifying while Delhi are planning to finish inside the top two.
The Capitals are in the markets in -175, while Rajasthan sit at +137. There could 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 this late stage of the season.
Next up are the Royal Challengers who sign off to another disappointing effort. Sunrisers Hyderabad are the traffic to the M Chinnaswamy and, while we wait for chances to come in on this one, SRH should start as slight favourites. RCB have been the toughest team to predict this season and with Hyderabad suffering from squad withdrawals, Virat Kohli and his guys have a fantastic opportunity to leave IPL 12 with a triumph.
On to Sunday and we start 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 famous for falling in shape throughout the second half of their effort. We’ve seen signs of that in the next half of those groups and we anticipate the Super Kings to take advantage and send Punjab home.
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