Week 6 gave us our first round of qualification and elimination but there is plenty at stake in the final set of group matches. Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals were the first sides through to the playoffs while we said an inevitable goodbye to Royal Challengers Bangalore following their rain-ruined game with Rajasthan Royals.
Week 7 begins with five franchises chasing those two remaining playoff slots. So, what do we have in store over the remaining few days?
Mumbai on the Brink
Mumbai Indians can join CSK and the Capitals in the next round if they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday. Mumbai certainly have the support of the Sportsbooks here as Rohit Sharma’s men go off at -161, while SRH are on offer at +130.
There is certainly some potential for an upset but it all depends on how the Sunrisers respond to the loss of key personnel. Jonny Bairstow and David Warner have both left to report for international duty ahead of the World Cup so Hyderabad need Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill to step up. Mumbai have less concerns and greater squad depth and they should seal that third playoff slot.
If Mumbai do go through, Friday’s contest between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders could have a big say in determining the final playoff place. Both teams are locked on 10 points ahead of the match and the Sportsbook will have the opportunity to battle it out with the Sunrisers for a top four finish. As for the odds, the market is predictably tight with Kings XI Punjab marginal favourites at -105,followed by KKR at +100.
This could be as tight as the market suggests and while Kings hardly deserve to be classed as favourites, they have the in-form batsmen who can decide the destiny of the tie. It’s up to Chris Gayle and KL Rahul plus some overdue support from David Miller, and if those batsmen fire, we can expect Punjab to snatch the points.
It’s our last weekend of group games and by Sunday night, the first set of playoff fixtures will be confirmed. It starts on Saturday morning as the Delhi Capitals host Rajasthan Royals and both teams should still be in need of the points. The Royals have faint hopes of qualifying while Delhi are aiming to finish inside the top two.
The Capitals are some way ahead in the markets at -175, while Rajasthan sit at +137. There could be scope for an upset here however, and Delhi’s dramatic batting collapse against Chennai on Wednesday suggests they’re running out of steam at this late stage of the season.
Next up are the Royal Challengers who sign off on another disappointing campaign. Sunrisers Hyderabad are the visitors to the M Chinnaswamy and, while we wait for odds to come in on this one, SRH should start as slight favourites. RCB have been the toughest team to predict this year and with Hyderabad suffering from squad withdrawals, Virat Kohli and his men have a good chance to leave IPL 12 with a win.
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 are known for slipping in form during the second half of the campaign. We’ve already seen signs of that in the second half of these groups and we expect the Super Kings to take advantage and send Punjab home.
We end the group phase with a crucial tie between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders. If we’ve predicted these games correctly, Mumbai will be aiming for a top two finish while KKR will need a win to progress to the groups. It’s an absolute thriller with which to sign off and we’re backing Kolkata’s greater desire to lead to a vital victory.