The 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL), after 39 days of highs and lows, has hit the home stretch with top four teams from the eight-team event qualifying for the playoffs.
Mumbai Indians (20 points), Rising Pune Supergiant (18 points), Sunrisers Hyderabad (17 points) and Kolkata Knight Riders (16 points) have emerged as the top four teams. One among the quartet will win the IPL 2017 trophy in the final on May 21.
IPL 2017 Playoff line-up
But before that there are the play-offs. Mumbai Indians (MI) and Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) will face each other in the Qualifier 1 on May 16 at the Wankhede Stadium. The winner of the match will enter final, while the losing team will have another shot at entering the title clash in the Qualifier 2 on May 19.
On May 17, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will play the eliminator at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. The winner of the match will then face the loser of the Qualifier 1 on May 19 in the second Qualifier. The game will decide the second entrant of the final.
Qualifier 1: MI vs RPS – May 16 (Mumbai)
Eliminator: SRH vs KKR – May 17 (Bangalore)
2nd Qualifier: Winner Eliminator vs Loser Qualifier 1 – May 19 (Bangalore)
Final: Winner of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of 2nd Qualifier May 21 (Hyderabad)
A look at the leaders and stars
For Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma, who led MI to victory in 2013 and 2015, has steered the team to the top of the points table. All-rounder Krunal Pandya, fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan will be their key players.
For second-placed Rising Pune Supergiant, Aussie Steve Smith replaced MS Dhoni as skipper and lifted the team from 7th in 2016 to second, giving two chances to reach the final. They will be without Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir in the play-offs.
Stokes’ absence might particularly hurt RPS’ chances as he has been exceptional in batting, bowling and fielding as well.
Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner has topped IPL 10’s batting charts and will aim to emulate MS Dhoni (CSK) by leading the team to a successful title defence. Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and spinner Rashid Khan have been crucial in their performance.
Gautam Gambhir, who captained Kolkata Knight Riders to triumph in 2012 and 2014, is also seeking a title hat-trick like MI after qualifying as the fourth team. Robin Uthappa and Chris Woakes will be their key men.