The Qualification race heats up
This was a must win game for KKR to keep the qualification chances in their hands, but they have blown it. Against an opposition whom they might have thought be easily picked off, Chennai came into the match with nothing to lose and put in a strong spirited performance to steal the match, with great performances from Gaikwad and Jadeja. This win for CSK, opening up the points table even more and paving way for Mumbai to qualify.
1. Future looks sparkling for Chennai
Much of this year's IPL was a lack luster performance from the men in yellow, with clear lack of intent from many of the players especially in the batting department, this even led MSD to say the youngsters lacked spark to play in the team.
But having got consistent chances in the team, they are beginning to show their metal, especially Ruturaj Gaikwad, has been the match winner for them in the last two matches with consecutive unbeaten half centuries at the top of the order, and taking his team home.
With Watson set to hang up his boots by the end of this season, he looks a perfect replacement at the top, and could solve CSK's run rate worry in powerplays.CSK management would be hoping to find similar answers to few more of their problems, going into next season, and with few clever guys in the auction, the Chennai Lions could be roaring back next season.
2. Jadeja the finisher.
Ravindra Jadeja has come a long way from being called the bits and pieces cricketer. He has been one of the shining lights, in what has otherwise been a disastrous campaign for CSK. Sir Jadeja was always regarded as bowler who can bat a bit, but this season has been quite different to that belief. It is his bat that has been doing most of the talking, especially his end overs hitting ability.
He has been instrumental in some of the victories that CSK have score this season, including this match where he scored 31 of mere 11 balls. His exploits at the end in the season’s IPL include 232 runs from 11 innings at an average of 46.4, and Strike rate of over 170, which gets him a spot in the top 5 fastest scorers this season, alongside the likes of Pollard, Pandya and ABD.If he continues in this form, he could become a long time finisher for CSK, taking over from Dhoni and Bravo.
3. CSK the saviour of other teams
Being the first team to he knocked out of this seasons IPL, Chennai can now play a more free brand of Cricket, without any weight of expectations having over them.They could be real superheroes for some teams while being absolute Villains for others.
In this match as well, all the other 6 teams, would have been rooting for CSK to win as it would help their qualification scenario in one or the other way. With CSK's victory MI became the first team to qualify, where as RCB and DC's chances of qualification went up, while the chances of KXIP, SRH, and RR' are very much kept alive.
Even KKR can still make it to the playoffs, but now they have to be dependent on the results of others and also win by a big margin on their last match owing to a poor Net Run Rate and the fact that maximum they can finish on 14 points.
4. The points table conundrum
With 49 games being completed and end of League stage nearing, there are only two things that have been confirmed till now, that CSK have been knocked out of the tournament and Mumbai are the only team to have qualified for the playoffs yet.
With just 7 more games yet to be played, 6 teams are still in the race for the playoffs with all being on 10,12 or 14 points each, as the competition has become more intense in the past week and half, with the bottom placed teams beating the top teams.Delhi and RCB look in better condition to qualify given their better NRR, but nothing can be taken to granted yet. A win for KXIP in the next match against RR, could almost guarantee them a spot and knock Rajasthan out of the tournament.
Whatever happens, each match from here on will be decisive and would determine who would go through to the qualifiers and who would go out, and would be virtual quarterfinal fights