After 56 matches and 44 days, 4 teams have booked playoff berths in the 2019 Indian Premier League. Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will go through to the next stage and battle it out for the title.
Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have won the IPL three times while Delhi Capitals have never reached the final. Sunrisers Hyderabad had won the IPL in 2016 and reached the final in 2018.
CSK, DC and MI were the most consistent teams in the group stage and it was no surprise when they sealed the first 3 spots. It all came down to the last game between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders to decide which of KKR or SRH would make it past the league stage.
After high drama and some riveting cricket, here is how the 2019 IPL playoff line-up looks like:
Qualifier 1: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians in Chennai on May 7
Eliminator: Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad in Vizag on May 8
Mumbai Indians (18 points): MI had won the IPL for the third time in 2017 but they failed miserably in 2018. Nothing clicked for Mumbai Indians last year and they finished the season with a heartbreak when they failed to qualify for the playoffs. But MI were determined to change their fortunes in 2019 and Hardik Pandya's form helped them immensely. He has had his best stint with the bat in the Indian Premier League so far. Rohit Sharma has had a below-average season but Quinton de Kock stepped up with plenty of runs this summer. Kieron Pollard has not been at his best either but his 31-ball 81 against KXIP gave MI the belief to do it all over again. Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga did what they do best - rattle batsmen with their pace and guile while young Rahul Chahar proved to be a revelation. They finished on top of the points table after crushing KKR by 9 wickets in the final league game of the season at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
Chennai Super Kings (18 points): The defending champions were the first team to seal a berth in the playoffs. Consistent throughout the tournament, CSK were always in contention to qualify for the playoffs. Shane Watson, who scored 2 hundreds in 2018, was not in great form but the others stepped up. MS Dhoni had another great season with the bat while Suresh Raina upped the ante later in the season. Faf du Plessis also returned to form with a stylish 96 against Kings XI Punjab. The bowlers, like always, have once again done a commendable job for CSK. Harbhajan Singh has bowled exceptionally well in the powerplay while Imran Tahir finished the league stages with 21 wickets from 14 matches. CSK have made it to the playoffs in every season of the IPL they have played in.
Delhi Capitals (18 points): Delhi had last reached the playoffs 7 years back. They went through a nightmarish season in 2018. Gautam Gambhir stepped down as captain after a horror start to the campaign as Shreyas Iyer took over. Even as Rishabh Pant continued his red-hot form and both Iyer and Prithvi Shaw played some blazing knocks, it was not enough to salvage their campaign. 2019 was different. With Ricky Ponting as coach and Sourav Ganguly as advisor,
Delhi Capitals roped in Shikhar Dhawan to partner young Prithvi Shaw at the top. Dhawan picked momentum as the season progressed and there were some barnstorming knocks from Pant and some matured knocks from Iyer. Kagiso Rabada, who has now returned home, picked 25 wickets from 12 matches while Chris Morris and Ishant Sharma chipped in with crucial strikes to help the team through to the playoffs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (12 points): SRH, champions in 2016 and runners-up in 2018, became the first team ever to reach the playoffs with only 12 points. Sunrisers Hyderabad were served well by David Warner, who currently holds the Orange Cap with 692 runs and Jonny Bairstow. But both men had to report to their national teams for World Cup preparation. In their absence, the batting has been a bit of a concern for SRH but Kane Williamson's spectacular innings was not enough in a defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last league game.
They were tied on 12 points with KXIP and KKR but had the advantage of a better net run rate. KKR had to beat Mumbai Indians to go through to the playoffs but one of their worst batting performances of the season saw them crash to a 9-wicket loss. KKR's pain was SRH's gain as they moved to the playoffs to take on Delhi Capitals in the Eliminator in Vizag on May 8.