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Playoff system a fair reward for consistency

india Updated: May 23, 2011 02:23 IST
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It's been a fascinating tournament of twists and turns and in a way, the real competition begins now! It took the penultimate day of the league phase to determine the four teams for the playoffs, and not until the final day was the order of qualification decided.

One of the often used words in T20 cricket is momentum. It's not something that you can identify in black and white. What is momentum? Is it getting off to a great start in the competition, or is it hitting a purple patch in the middle of the league phase and carrying it forward to the playoffs?

The Mumbai Indians' journey is the best example of how things may not end up the way you expect them to. After 10 matches, they had 16 points, and with four matches to play, everyone believed they had all but assured themselves of not just a playoff place but also a top-two position.

T20 is fickle
Rocked by three consecutive losses, they needed the Deccan Chargers to beat Kings XI Punjab and do them a favour, easing their qualification worries. How quickly things can change in T20!

The Royal Challengers Bangalore stitched together a fantastic mid-league surge that included seven consecutive victories, after three straight losses, while the Kings XI and Deccan Chargers ended the competition strongly after having stuttered in the early stages. It again raises the question of when to peak, and how to manage your resources so that you don't peak too early.

I am in favour of the playoff system that is in vogue this season. It is a fair system that aims to reward consistency in the league phase, which is why the top-two teams get two chances to make it to the final. You should not be punished for one bad day in the knockouts after a brilliant league run. The playoffs are an insurance against that one bad day, and it brings greater balance to the competition.