Virat Kohli was once again the star player with the bat for Royal Challengers Bangalore as the right-hander hit an unbeaten 54 off 45 balls helped his side seal a six-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils in the 2016 IPL clash with 11 balls to spare on Sunday. The latest victory has not only helped RCB to qualify for the playoff stage, but sees them finish second in the table.

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Gujarat Lions are leading the table with 18 points after 14 matches as they sealed the top spot after beating Mumbai Indians on Saturday. Sunrisers Hyderabad, who had a chance to finish top of the table, gave away the opportunity following their defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders.

This helped KKR to make it into the top four as they were level on points with David Warner’s side with 16 points. Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Net Run Rate of +0.245 has helped them to sit third in the table, while the Knight Riders sit fourth.

Playoff Format

The third place team will face the fourth place team in the Eliminator, while the top two teams will face each other in Qualifier 1. The winner of the qualifier will progress to the final, while the losing team will face the winner of eliminator clash, to complete the final line-up.

Playoff schedule

Qualifier 1: Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Date and Time: 24 May, Tuesday – 3:30pmVenue: Bangalore
Eliminator: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Date and Time: 25 May, Wednesday – 3:30pm BST
Venue: Delhi

Qualifier 2: loser of Qualifer 1 v eliminator winner
Date and Time: 27 May, Friday – 3:30pm BST
Venue Delhi
Final: Eliminator winner v Qualifier 2 winner
Date and Time: 29 May, Sunday – 3:30pm BST
Venue: Bangalore

Qualifier 1 Gujarat Lions v Royal Challengers Bangalore Tuesday

So the two top teams in the group standings face off with a place in Sunday’s final tom the winner whilst the losers meet the winners of the 3-4th place match on Friday in an effective semi-final

Powered by an in-form Virat Kohli’s inspirational leadership, Royal Challengers Bangalore made the play offs by winning their last four games with their hugely powerful batting line up in tremendous form and have struck form at just the right time

The last time RCB squared up against Gujarat here, they recorded the biggest ever (144-run) victory in the history of IPL. AB de Villiers (129 not out) and Virat Kohli (109) went on a rampage in that game and scored magnificent centuries.
Kohli has so far amassed a record 919 runs in the ongoing IPL with four centuries and six fifties at a staggering average of 91.90. Kohli has also been an impressive captain and infused confidence in the team after a disappointing start. At one point of time, qualifying for the play-offs looked a distant dream, but the captain made it possible with his glorious batting and leadership qualities. While de Villiers has 603 runs under his belt with one century and five half-centuries, Gayle indicated his return to form in the last few games.

Credit for the turnaround should also go to RCB’s not-so-experienced bowling attack, which was under fire for a major part of the tournament.RCB’s turnaround in bowling was made possible by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who is the leading wicket-taker with 19 wickets from 11 games. The late entry of Chris Jordon also helped RCB in containing their rivals in the death overs. Australian Shane Watson too has served the team well with the ball, picking up 16 wickets so far in this season.

Debutants Gujarat Lions, on the other hand, were the first team to qualify for the play-offs by destroying the hopes of title-holders Mumbai Indians. In contrast to RCB, Gujarat made a rampaging start to the season before facing a late slump.

In Aaron Finch (339 runs from 11 games), Brendon McCullum (321 from 14), Dwayne Smith (250 from 10), Raina (397 from 13), Dinesh Karthik (283) and Darren Bravo, Gujarat too have a formidable batting line-up.

In the bowling department, Gujarat have depended on the pace duo of Bravo and Dhawal Kulkarni. While Bravo has 15 wickets against his name, Kulkarni has managed 14 wickets so far. The spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Pravin Tambe havebnt been effective so far in this IPL.

At home, with the batting in such great form and the bowling line up much improved. RCB are deserved favourites to advance to the final

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