IPL 2011 Road to the Playoffs

The four teams have gone through to the playoffs that start off from Tuesday. The first game will have the Chennai Super Kings taking on the Royal Challengers Bangalore while in the second one, the Mumbai Indians take on the Kolkata Knight Riders. Man to look out for in playoffs>

The road to the playoffs has been a different one for the four sides.

Chennai Super Kings: The Super Kings were one those sides which went in with a similar line-up as the last IPL. They retained the maximum allowed four players and during the auctions picked up a similar side as the previous one. They lost three of their opening five games but came back strongly in the middle of the tournament.

The Super Kings’ biggest positive was the manner in which they played at home – winning seven out of the seven games that they played there but with only two wins from the seven away games, things have not looked so good for them. They shouldn’t have been in the top two positions but a choke from the Kolkata Knight Riders put them there.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: They won their first game with great difficulty and failed to win a single game of the next four matches. Things looked difficult for them when they lost Dirk Nannes as their pace bowler but they made a smart move by getting in Chris Gayle in his place. The rest as they say, was history. In the ensuing seven games, the side were assisted to seven successive wins before they lost one. In turn, the side also became the first side to enter the playoffs, with Gayle smashing two centuries in the tournament in the process.

Now, the Royal Challengers Bangalore look favourites to win the tournament.

Mumbai Indians: They began with the efficiency of the previous year. Ten games into the tournament, they had eight wins and with 16 points, looked to have qualified for the playoffs. In fact, they were probably gunning for the top two spots and to end with at least 10 or 11 wins.

However, then started a turnaround, which saw them capitulate to three losses in a row, all thanks to batting performances that were so poor that it was difficult to understand what went wrong. They narrowly won the last league game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, in another game where they looked like going down. Their batting will be a major worry in the playoffs.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Kolkata Knight Riders looked consistent throughout and there weren’t too many occasions when it looked like they would not go through to the playoffs. However, when they took on Mumbai Indians, they knew that they had to win the game to go through to the playoffs at the second spot. With Mumbai Indians needing 21 off the last over, it looked like they were going to win easily but six balls and four fours and a six later, the game had been lost! Remains to be seen how the Knight Riders will make a comeback.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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