IPL 2018: Reasons behind the four teams that qualified for the playoffs

IPL 2018: Reasons behind the four teams that qualified for the playoffs

All the four teams have performed exceedingly well in recent times.

IPL 2018 BCCI
IPL trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The playoff phase of the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to kick from on Tuesday, May 22, when table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take each other on in Qualifier 1 at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. The winner of this game will progress to the final to be played on May 27 while the loser will take on the winners of the Eliminator between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday, May 23.

Now, how have the four qualifiers done in this IPL? Here is a look at the performances of SRH, CSK, KKR and RR – the four teams from which the winner of IPL 2018 will emerge in another five days and what have been the reasons behind their success this year:

1. Sunrisers Hyderabad

Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The SRH is the newest of the lot playing in the IPL but they have already made a mark. It’s their sixth season and they have already made the playoffs four times and went on to lift the tournament once (2016). The side had its initial concerns after their bashing regular captain David Warner faced a ban before the tournament began, but the SRH did not allow that setback to affect their plans.

Led by a new skipper in Kane Williamson who has been in a great form this season (661 runs in 14 games; average 60; strike rate 143.07), the SRH’s key to success has been their bowling – both in the pace and spin departments. The likes of Siddharth Kaul, Rashid Khan, Shakib al Hasan, Sandeep Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have taken 63 wickets between them, which is quite lethal. These five bowlers have also delivered 522 dot balls (which means they didn’t concede a run in 87 overs or more than four matches!).

The Sunrisers’ bowlers, however, failed to deliver in their last three games as they failed to defend scores like 170-plus and also conceded 218 in one game. They lost all the three encounters though some might opine that the team turned a tad complacent after qualifying for the playoffs in just 11 matches, winning nine of them. One positive that the SRH can take from their last four games that their batsmen have done better.

Veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan has regained his touch by hitting three fifties in those four games and is giving the right kind of assistance to his captain Williamson who also scored three fifties in four matches. But SRH needs their other batsmen like Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan to back the top two, something which hasn’t happened often for Hyderabad this season even though their brilliant bowling performance won games with low totals.

SRH have lost both their encounters against CSK who they will play in the first qualifier and with three consecutive losses under their belts, the men in orange will be hoping their trump card – the bowlers – to do the job for them once again and take them to their second final.

And last but not the least, Williamson’s captaincy. The 27-year-old New Zealander has already proved his worth both as a batsman and a captain and this IPL have been no exception. The man has been a terrific skipper on the ground, not afraid to hold back his bowlers even when the target is low and the best of the opponent’s batsman are on strike and neither shied away from addressing the minute details while setting the field. The SRH will be up against a tough opponent in the qualifier but they have the required firepower to overcome the hurdle.