IPL final week: All you need to know about playoffs, teams, key players

Jos Buttler and Yuzvendra Chahal are the Orange Cap and Purple Cap holders respectively as the IPL 2022 action now shifts to Kolkata's Eden Gardens and the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad for the playoffs

Who will win this IPL trophy on May 29? Photo: BCCI/IPL

It is time for the playoffs in IPL 2022. Six teams have been eliminated and four remain after 70 league matches. The Twenty20 tournament is in its final week with just four contests left and a champion to be crowned next Sunday (May 29).

Three of the most successful teams (11 titles between them) in IPL history – Mumbai Indians (MI), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) – are not in the playoffs.

The 15th season of the IPL began on March 26. After an action-packed league stage where all the 10 franchises played 14 games apiece, now four have progressed to the second phase.

Also read: Why CSK failed to make IPL 2022 playoffs: Dhoni and Fleming answer

Debutants Gujarat Titans (GT) and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) have joined inaugural edition champion Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the playoffs. Among the four, Rajasthan is the only team have won an IPL title.

Bangalore’s qualification come through on Friday night after Mumbai knocked out Delhi Capitals (DC). If Delhi had won, it would have progressed at the cost of Bangalore.

Gujarat Titans topped in the league phase of IPL 2022. Photo: BCCI/IPL

It has been a dream debut for Gujarat as it sits on top of the table with 20 points. The Hardik Pandya-led side plays Qualifier 1 against the second-placed Rajasthan (18 points) in Kolkata on Tuesday (May 24).

The top-two finishers – Gujarat and Rajasthan – get a second chance to have a shot at the final. The loser of Qualifier 1 will play in Qualifier 2 while the winner goes straight to the title clash to be played at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium.

Also read: Dhoni to play IPL 2023

Lucknow, the third-placed team, with 18 points, meets Bangalore (16 points) which is fourth in the table. They fight it out in the Eliminator on Wednesday in Kolkata. The winner goes to play Qualifier 2 while the loser is out of the tournament. So, this is a must-win contest, there is no second chance, unlike Qualifier 1.

Form guide

While there is very little to choose between the four teams in the playoffs, it will be interesting to see how well they adapt to new conditions.

It is a fresh start for them as all the league contests were played across four venues in Mumbai and Pune, and now the action shifts to Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

Also read: India Test, T20I squads announced

They don’t have much time to assess the conditions. It is even more difficult for Lucknow and Bangalore as they don’t have a second chance unlike the other two. A loss means elimination.

Looking at the form in the last five matches, Gujarat has won two while the other three have three victories apiece.

What happened when they met in the league phase?

Gujarat played Rajasthan once in the league stage and won that contest by 37 runs after scoring 192/4.

The contest between Lucknow and Bangalore went in favour of the latter as it won by 18 runs.

Key players

Gujarat will bank on its captain Hardik Pandya (413 runs and 4 wickets in the league phase), batsmen Shubman Gill (403 runs) and Wriddhiman Saha (312 runs), pacemen Mohammed Shami (18 wickets), and Lockie Ferguson (12 wickets), leg-spinner Rashid Khan (18 wickets) and ‘finishers’ David Miller (381 runs) and Rahul Tewatia (217 runs).

Jos Buttler is the leading run-scorer in IPL 2022. Photo: BCCI/IPL

For Rajasthan, orange cap holder Jos Buttler (629 runs) has to fire at the top of the order. Skipper Sanju Samson (374 runs), batsmen Devdutt Padikkal (337 runs), and Shimron Hetmyer (297 runs) are key. In the bowling department the quartet of Trent Boult (13 wickets), Prasidh Krishna (15 wickets), purple cap holder Yuzvendra Chahal (26 wickets), and R Ashwin (11 wickets) needs to tie down the opposition batsmen again.

Lucknow’s batting revolves around its openers – captain KL Rahul (537 runs) and Quinton de Kock (502 runs). The pair needs to provide a blazing start in the Eliminator as it has done in the league stage. In the middle order, Deepak Hooda (406) is important while expects useful contributions from all-rounders Krunal Pandya and Marcus Stoinis.

De Kock is fresh from his knock of a hundred against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the team’s last league game where he and Rahul put on a double century partnership for the first wicket.

In the bowling department, Lucknow depends on Mohsin Khan (13 wickets), Avesh Khan (17), Jason Holder (14), Krunal (9), and Ravi Bishnoi (12).

The fourth and last team in the playoffs – Bangalore – will be feeling confident after its star batsman Virat Kohli (309 runs) returned to form. In the team’s final league game, Kohli struck his season’s best of 73 against Gujarat. He, captain Faf du Plessis (443), Glenn Maxwell (268), and Dinesh Karthik (287) are the key men.

Bangalore’s bowling attack will revolve around paceman Josh Hazlewood (15 wickets), Harshal Patel (18), and Wanindu Hasaranga (24). Patel was injured during the Gujarat game but has said he will be ready for the playoffs.

Be it the league phase or the playoffs, IPL contests are never short of excitement. And, one can expect the same in the final week of this edition. Bring it on.

IPL playoffs schedule

  • May 24 (Tuesday): Qualifier 1: Gujarat vs Rajasthan (Eden Gardens, Kolkata) – 7:30 PM
  • May 25 (Wednesday): Eliminator: Lucknow vs Bangalore (Kolkata) – 7:30 PM
  • May 27 (Friday): Qualifier 2: (Loser of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Eliminator) (Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad) – 7:30 PM
  • May 29 (Sunday): Final: (Winner of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Qualifier 2) (Ahmedabad) – 8 PM
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