With the men separated from the boys, it is worth taking a look at the five teams that missed out on the playoffs. The Chargers finished strongly with victories in their last two matches, and that should do wonders to their confidence going into Season VI.
Dale Steyn reiterated that even in a batsman's game, a class act can make a huge difference. He was sensational against the RCB, a game the latter had to win to advance.
RCB blew a glorious chance to make it to the knockout round for a fourth consecutive year. They were too dependent on Chris Gayle, and it didn't help them that stand-in skipper Virat Kohli didn't show the consistency expected of him. Saurabh Tiwary was disappointing, thus the expectations on Gayle and AB de Villiers multiplied hugely.
Rajasthan Royals' cause wasn't helped by the late arrival of Shane Watson. The Australian brings great balance to the team and even though the Royals began strongly, they didn't have the firepower to carry them through to the next stage. Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane were consistent but there wasn't too much in the middle order apart from the occasional blitz from Owais Shah and Brad Hodge.
As for the KXIP, the word that best describes them is enigmatic. The Pune Warriors never found their bearings and having made a backdoor entry last season, Sourav Ganguly had two choices this season - either emerge an absolute hero or find himself in the place he is in today. Yes, Sourav didn't have a great time, but credit to him for having backed himself and trusted his abilities.
The writer is a former India pacer