IPL 2011 has not been so successful, if reports have to be believed. Yet, if results have to be seen, the tournament may appear moderate hit. The top linings were clear almmost before completing of two third of the match. Yet IPL owes it to Kings XI who have changed the well set knockout line again, at least threaetened to do so. Earlier it was Valthaty who made IPL worth following, now Gilly and Kings XI men have forced top teams to hurry and bottom teams to lose hope.
In Match 63 of IPL 4 against strong Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI looked unlikely to win considering the form of Gayle and their last convincing defeat against RCB at Bangalore. But, set on a course to win last 5-matches, Kings XI were in must win situation to get 4th win on a trot. GIlly took the challenge and showed RCB what it feels like to be on the facing end of such a knock, some of which Gayle has played for them. His 2nd century of IPL, his T20 record creating partnership with new Orange Cap holder Shaun Marsh and then his agility while fielding, despite batting for just 1 ball less than 20 overs was phenomenal. His performance announced that Kings XI are one of the best teams.
Reaching sweet 16 was not impossible, although very difficult. Yet, getting 5 wins would not have made the place secure. It may not be enough still, as other three teams in fray can move forward from 16 points as all three have 2 matches remaining. But it is not impossible now. Earlier top 4 teams were relaxed considering the very low Net Run Rate of Kings XI. Now, their NRR is better than what the strongest looking team of IPL 4, Mumbai Indians have. That means, sitting at 16 will not help MUmbai Indians, if Kings XI win their 5th match too. Kings XI have 14 points and have NRR of +0.271.
Teams in Danger Zone
Kolkata Knight Riders have the biggest worries. They have one of the best NRR. But, they must win at least one of the two remaining matches to even get in contention. They are set to play Pune Warriors and then sign of with match against Kolkata KNight Riders. They have 14 points with a healthy NRR of +0.403.
Mumbai Indians on the other hand also have two matches remaining. They will play Rajasthan Royals at Mumbai and then the last match against KKR. Revenge will be the key word against RR, for all onfield and off-field reasons. If they win, they are through. But if they cannot, then the last group match of the tournament against KKR will be the most awaited match for all as then only one of them can qualify. MI is placed at 16 points but have NRR of only +0.245.
Teams in Safe Zone
Royal Challengers Bangalore with 17 points is the only team that can be considered safely placed in Knock Out. Their run rate of +0.283 does not come in contention anymore.
Chennai Super Kings with 16 points and among all teams the best NRR of +0.544 have nothing much to worry, unless they lose remaining two matches by huge margins. Theoretically considering their team and form they cannot lose, even if they lose then also not with uge margin. Yet, practically all the strong looking teams have lost one or two matches with huge difference. They should be wary of that and would want to win one match and seal their place in Knock Out.
It appears despite all the heroics Kings XI would remain out of the knock out. KKR is their only hope. Unfortunately KKR, despite being one of the best teams of IPL 2011 have been inconsistent and unless they play their last match, no verdict can be passed against them.