So now it’s come to the final week of the IPL. Four teams have fought hard to get to this stage and now have the chance to win it. The first of the playoffs start with the teams that were the top two in the league stage. Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians were more consistent than the others and by finishing in the top two, have given themselves a chance to get another crack at winning the cup even if they lose today.
That is why it was so important not to slacken even if a playoff place was guaranteed and finish in the top two spots. It is a just reward, but now both teams know that the finish line can be seen and so they can’t afford to lose focus.
Both Chennai and Mumbai lost their final games in the league stage which both will want to reassure themselves was according to the law of averages, and so they will be hoping that the winning habit will come back. Often, a loss is a good wake up call, for it does shake up any complacency and gears the team up for sterner battles.
Also, it must not be forgotten that both teams knew that there was no chance of another team usurping their top two places, and so allowed some of their big name players more time to recover from the niggles and mini injuries that a long season entails. They will now not only be physically fit but also raring to go mentally.
Make no mistake, at this level it will be more of a mental battle, and the players who are made of steel and who know how to wriggle out of a pressure situation will be the ones who will take their team into the final. Both teams have more than one such player and any one of them could be a match winner. What also has been impressive is the manner in which the little known players in the teams have been ready for the big challenge and have kept their nerve and made a difference.
Both teams have been in the knockouts before, both know the stakes involved, both have had the same core group of players over the last few seasons, so it is going to be a battle of the giants. Chennai have been in four of the five finals so far while Mumbai have been in one, and so the dice will be loaded in favour of the team from the south. Will they get into another final? Will they win again? Oh IPL, you beauty!
Professional Management Group