Kevin Pietersen: Assessing the four teams in the IPL playoffs
The Betway ambassador weighs up the chances of the four remaining teams, and reveals the factors that will decide the destination of the IPL trophy.
Kings XI should have made the top four
Kings XI Punjab have missed out on their best opportunity for years in the IPL.
They should have won the first couple of games – against Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah, and in the Super Over at the start of the tournament against the Delhi Capitals.
Their performances were arguably better than results suggest, but they’ve only got themselves to blame. Chris Gayle proved to be a resounding success, but they picked him far too late in the tournament.
They probably should have been in the top four ahead of Sunrisers Hyderabad – but they're not, and that’s all that matters.
Check this out - I filmed a day I had in the bubble in Dubai...! https://t.co/bLnXLHeti3— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) October 27, 2020
This is my assessment of the four teams that have made it to the playoff stage…
Ultimately, I still think that Mumbai Indians or Delhi Capitals will win the IPL.
But form is something that you cannot disregard, and Mumbai have lost a couple of games recently, including their last one against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Even though they've been the dominant team across the whole competition, that maybe isn't the convincing form they would like to have built up heading into their playoff game.
It's going to come down to how positive their individuals are feeling. Rohit Sharma has come back, but is he fully fit?
Clearly, they have a team stacked with talent, though.
Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah and others have all had good tournaments.
That individual bit of brilliance can get you over the line, so if you have more individuals that are playing well in your team than those who are playing poorly then you’re going to go well.
Delhi were constantly losing towards the end of the tournament, but they did really well to get back to winning ways against Royal Challengers Bangalore and secure second spot.
You want to peak at the right time. In this tournament, that is absolutely crucial, and Delhi may have recovered from their slump at the right moment.
Clearly, pace duo Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are crucial to their chances, but it’s great to see two class acts in Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane in the runs, too.
They've got a lot of work to do to get back to their best, but that win will have given them a little bit more confidence.
The team that I am particularly intrigued by are Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Having played in a lot of these tournaments, form and momentum are things that you cannot disregard
They have won three matches in a row to sneak into that top four and are now peaking, which is ideal.
I’ll repeat – having played in a lot of these tournaments, form and momentum are things that you cannot disregard. And those things are in the favour of SRH.
They will be feeling really good about the balance of their team, too.
Picking Jason Holder and leaving Jonny Bairstow out looks like a good move.
They obviously saw something that not many others had, because when my commentary stint ended a few weeks ago, Bairstow was playing beautifully. He was being picked in every game and he was playing nicely, but they've got rid of him.
They've got Holder bowling the cutters on these slower wickets and he whacks it a bit with the bat. He's turned around their fortunes, for sure.
When you play in a tournament like this, knowing that you won your last game is big.
You've got a happy camp, you've got people thinking about how well they’re playing and focusing on winning.
Their players aren't looking around the dressing room thinking, ‘Well he's not playing well, he cost us the game’. It's just positive vibes.
Right now, they are waking up in their hotel with a much more positive mindset and that can take you over the line.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The mood in the RCB camp may be a little different. Coming into their first playoff match with four consecutive defeats behind them isn’t a good place to be.
To win a tournament like this, you need momentum and you need to win at the right times. You also need to be in good form at the right times.
Again, RCB's bowling hasn't been up to it.
They were good for part of the tournament, with Yuzvendra Chahal particularly stepping up, but their bowling is something that is definitely letting them down. They will be wondering what their best combination is and where they're going wrong.
As ever, they rely too heavily on AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. Will their bowlers actually turn up?
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