After 56 matches and 39 days of scintillating cricket, the tenth edition of Indian Indian Premier League (IPL) finally geared up for a closure to the season with the four best team of the tournament locking horns for the coveted IPL 2017 trophy.
Mumbai Indians topped the points table with 20 points followed by Rising Pune Supergiant (18 points), Sunrisers Hyderabad (17 points) and Kolkata Knight Riders (16 points) to become the final four teams to have qualified for the playoffs from what was a closely fought contest between eight teams when the IPL season 2017 begin on April 4 last month.
While Mumbai Indians was the first team to seal a berth in the playoffs this year; Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) on Sunday in their final league game destroyed Kings XI Punjab — won by 9 wickets after bowling them all out for a meagre 73 — to storm into the top two slots of the points table.
With the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) already eliminated out of the tournament, this is how the picture looks now with the fresh entrant and the dark horse of this IPL season Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) already in the finals of the IPL 2017.
A quick Recap
May 16, Qualifier 1: Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant
The first qualifier was played between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Sunrisers at the iconic Wankhede Stadium on May 16 at 20:00 IST.
Rising Pune Supergiant rode on fine half-centuries from Manoj Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane and impressive off-spin bowling from teenager Washington Sundar (3/16) to defeat Mumbai Indians by 20 runs in the first qualifier and enter the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday.
Tiwary (58), Rahane (56) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (40 not out off 26) helped Pune post 162/4 in 20 overs. Sundar, 17, then ran through the Mumbai top-order as the hosts could only score 142/9 at the Wankhede Stadium. Medium pacer Shardul Thakur (3/37) created problems for Mumbai at the death overs.
Having finished the league stage in the top position, Mumbai on Friday will have another chance to enter the final as they will face the winner of the Eliminator match — Kolkata Knight Riders.
Two-time champions Mumbai are too good a side to flounder the way they did against Pune.
With this result, Steve Smith led RPS has defeated MI at all the three encounters so far in this IPL.
May 17, Eliminator 2: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir led from the front to knock defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a seven-wicket win and made to Qualifier 2 in a rain-interrupted eliminator clash at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.
KKR will take on Mumbai Indians on Friday at the same venue.
Chasing 48 to win in six overs after rain and wet outfield ate up a large chunk of playing time, forcing Duckworth-Lewis method to come into play, Gambhir steadied the ship after KKR were 12/3 at one stage with an unbeaten 19-ball 32. Ishank Jaggi, playing his first match, was not out on five.
At the start, Chris Lynn was on the money right away, smacking Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six in the first ball he faced.
But the second ball saw the destructive Australian get out after replays showed Lynn had edged to wicketkeeper Naman OJha off a Bhuveshwar near-yorker.
Yusuf Pathan, promoted up the order to score at a brisk pace, lasted just one delivery before he was run out. Robin Uthappa did not last long too, holing out to Shikhar Dhawan at deep mid wicket off Chris Jordan’s bowling.
Earlier, KKR rode on a superlative show by their bowlers to restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to 128/7 in 20 overs.
None of the Hyderabad batsmen could score a half century, with skipper David Warner managing only 37 off 35 balls as the highest score of the innings.
NOTE: The winner of the eliminator match (KKR) will face the loser of the qualifier 1 between Mumbai Indians and Pune Supergiant for a spot in the final.
May 19, Eliminator 2: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Krunal Pandya’s unbeaten 30-ball 45 helped Mumbai Indians record a facile six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) second qualifier clash at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.
Mumbai, who finished on 111/4 in 14.3 overs, will now take on Steve Smith’s Rising Pune Supergiant in the final on Sunday.
Chasing just 108, Krunal joined hands with skipper Rohit Sharma for a 54-run fourth wicket stand to steady Mumbai’s ship after early hiccups which left them on 34/3 at one stage.
Rohit (26) gave away his wicket cheaply, picking out Ankit Rajpoot at deep square leg off Nathan Coulter-Nile’s delivery.
KKR caused a flutter among Mumbai ranks scalping three wickets inside the first six overs.
Piyush Chawla (2/34) was at the forefront of the early demolition, sending the dangerous Lendl Simmons (3) and Ambati Rayudu (6) back in the hut with a googly and a peach of a delivery respectively which beat Rayudu all ends up.
At the end of Powerplay, Mumbai were in a spot of bother at 36/3. But once Rohit and Krunal saw off the initial few overs, it was Mumbai all the way as the latter played the role of aggressor with deft fours and lusty sixes to inflict a 16th defeat on their rivals in the two sides’ 21st meeting.
Krunal’s innings was laced with eight fours and no six. With him at the crease was Keiron Pollard (not out 9) when Krunal hit the winning runs.
Earlier, Mumbai leg-spinner Karn Sharma took four wickets to bowl out KKR for a paltry 107 in 18.5 overs.
The grand Finale!
May 21: Rising Pune Supergiant vs Mumbai Indians
The final of the Indian Premier league will be played at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium — home to the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad — on May 21 at 20:00 IST.
Our prediction, Cricket wins again!