This year’s IPL has been one of the best editions in recent times. The Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals have already sealed their playoff spots. But the remaining two slots are wide open even as we enter the back end of the tournament. It’s an exciting last few days and I reckon, it’s going to get even more interesting!
Here are my predictions on which two teams will grab the last two spots:
Kolkata Knight Riders
For the third position, I’m going with the Kolkata Knight Riders. They are such a great side. They lost six matches on the trot but came back in outstanding fashion against the Mumbai Indians. I was watching them live the other night, and I have never seen such clean hitting. They have a very good batting lineup. Their skipper, Dinesh Karthik is leading from the front and he has found form at the right time.
KKR also have Andre Russell, an absolute legend of the game. I have not seen anyone hit the ball as long and as hard as Andre. He’s a real game-changer. Chris Lynn can be devastating at the top. Robbie Uthappa hasn’t been at his best, but he is a big match player and will come good. I am also looking forward to Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill, two very exciting youngsters capable of surprising the opposition. Sunil Narine as a floater will also have a big role to play.
Harry Gurney, their strike bowler is a smart operator. I am really impressed by the way he varies his pace. Young Prasidh Krishna is a good foil for Gurney with his express pace and bang-on yorkers. Narine with his variations and Piyush Chawla with his googly, slider and ripping leg spin make KKR a complete package. I’d be surprised if they don’t make it to the playoffs.
The second team that I think should qualify is Sunrisers Hyderabad. They have lost David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, so who can step up for them? The stylish Manish Pandey is in good form right now. He is enjoying a fantastic run. Vijay Shankar, selected for the World Cup, should make this opportunity count. Their skipper Kane Williamson will be under some pressure to score runs. I feel Martin Guptill will come good at the top after a long wait on the sidelines. Mohammad Nabi is a finisher to watch out for.
Hyderabad’s bowling unit depends heavily on Rashid Khan. Other teams have been smart and have picked singles off Rashid. SRH as a unit hasn’t really bowled well. I think Rashid needs some help from his bowling partners. Bhuvneshwar with his experience in the Indian outfit will be crucial. The likes of Khaleel Ahmed and Sandeep Sharma also need to step up, and I reckon they will.
So, KKR and SRH are my picks for the playoffs. If these two teams perform to their fullest, they will definitely find themselves in the Top 4.