Written By: Bhawana Jarwal
With IPL entering its business end and three teams earning the Q tag for the qualifiers, the fight for that 4th spot has all heated up. RCB beating the Gujarat Titans in their last group match has meant it is a straight knockout situation for DC when they take on MI this Saturday. If DC wins, they pip RCB and go through as the 4th team. MI will have a score to settle when they take on DC on Saturday, as the memories from 2018 are still afresh. When the Mumbai Indians were in a similar position, DC killed their hopes, pushing them out of contention. Now MI will look to put one across DC this time, as the whole of Bangalore and their supporters across the globe will be backing MI to knock DC out. For DC, the destiny is still in their hands, and to negate MI from playing the spoilsport, they would be backing Pant to come good. He has not set this IPL on fire for his standards. The Delhi Capitals have never missed an IPL playoff since their rebirth in the league and seem to have a settled unit with Marsh starting to fire, Kuldeep finding his mojo back, and they look like a well-sorted team entering their final clash.
The prayers for RCB to make the cut to the top 4 have gone a notch high after Virat Kohli finally struck form against the titans. That was a vintage Kohli knock at Wankhede, and being animated for each run, showing how desperate he was and how timely that knock has been. When it comes to Virat, not only RCB fans but the entire nation wants him to do well and would be glued to screens to see how he takes this form from here. He has been known for donning his chase-master cape in big matches, and against Titans, it was a do-or-die match with RCB chasing a decent total. Cometh the hour and cometh the man, King Kohli did arrive at the Wankhade all guns blazing. One could see what that knock meant to his well-wishers equally, yelling their hearts out to push him through to convert it to a big one. The Wankhade turned to become Chinnaswamy and was pulsating with Kohli chants in every nook and cranny.
RCB winning against GT has meant that it was the curtains for SRH and Punjab. Punjab would be condemning their loss against Delhi. RR made sure to finish in the Top 2, riding on a clinical performance from Ashwin against CSK, giving themselves an extra shot for the coveted trophy heading into the playoffs. On the other hand, MSD assuring to play in yellow for another year has brought fans some joy in an otherwise glum and a forgettable season.
So the final games of the IPL group stages are evenly poised, as DC v/s MI would be a high voltage match, intriguing for two camps, whereas the SRH v/s Punjab match will now be a dead rubber, as teams would try to get their standings better. With GT, RR, and LSG occupying the one, two, and three slots sequentially, the focus will be on the MI v/s DC encounter. Whether Rohit Sharma and co can finish their campaign on a winning note and provide some joy to the RCB camp is to be seen, and RCB would be fingers crossed, hoping that they can make the cut to the playoffs. On the other hand, Ricky Ponting would want their side to leave no stones unturned and put up a clinical performance to storm into the playoffs.
IPL is all set for its final week after a fascinating two months of cricket and total entertainment. Each year, when you think you are sure of the top 4, the table topples, and it goes all the way down to the wire. Along with some major upsets, there has been an emergence of a pool of talents. It is such stellar & nail-biting finishes and adrenaline-pumping juncture, which keeps you hooked on IPL. Also, the newbies GT and LSG have displayed terrific spirits and audacity, earned fans, and took the rest by surprise. The momentum will be crucial for teams, and GT will be annoyed with the result against RCB the previous night, but they have two chances to make it to the finals. There is a good chance that a new champion will get crowned this year, as RR is the only team to have won the title amongst the teams in contention to make the top 4. So buckle up and brace yourselves, as we are heading to one hot final week. Let the coming days be as befitting for the culmination of the extravaganza. Fingers crossed & let’s get started.