IPL 2018 reaches climax: An overview of final 5 league matches

While KXIP’s chances look slim, MI and RCB could make the last four, thanks to their good net run-rates.

IPL 2018 BCCI Jammu and Kashmir

IPL trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Shubham Ghosh

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The eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has reached the climax now. Fifty-one games have been played and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are topping the table at the moment with 18 points in 13 matches. They lost their last two games against Chennai Super King (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after qualifying for the playoffs.

CSK is the only other team to have qualified for the last-four stage although it is still not clear who will be finishing as the first, second, third and fourth teams, in that order before the playoffs begin. Till about midway, this year’s IPL was looking far too predictable with three teams rushing ahead while three others lagging behind but the last 10 days or so has seen the equations changing fast as all except Delhi Daredevils (DD) remained in the hunt for a place in the top four.

IPL 11 now has five matches remaining in the league stages and they will be played over this weekend. Supporters of seven teams except DD who have been knocked out will be keeping a close watch on their favourite side’s performances in their final game of the tournament (besides CSK, DD has two games among these last five and even their supporters will be expecting a couple of wins so that Shreyas Iyer’s side at least end the disappointing campaign with two-digit points).

Now, let’s have a look at the final five games and what would their outcomes mean for the teams – both for the playing ones and others since at this stage, one result can affect the chances of even teams not playing that very game.

1. Delhi Daredevils vs Chennai Super Kings in Delhi on May 18

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings’ Shardul Thakur celebrates fall of Kane Williamson’s wicket. (Photo by IANS)

CSK had won their first game in Pune by 13 runs on April 30 after DD valiantly ran after the target of 212, thanks to Rishabh Pant’s 45-ball 79. This time, DD will be taking on MS Dhoni’s men at home with an aim of salvaging some pride. Though with 6 points, even a win will not change DD’s position (8th) in the points table.

A CSK win, on the other hand, will make their race with SRH for the top slot interesting. Both teams, in that case, will have 18 points from 13 games and with their net run-rate (NRR) difference also not much (CSK better by +0.064), it will go down to the last games of both CSK (against Kings XI Punjab) and SRH (against Kolkata Knight Riders) to decide the No.1 and No. 2 rank holders. Nevertheless, they both look favourites to take on each other in the first playoff at the Wankhede Stadium on May 22.

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