he regular season of the Indian Premier League was thrillingly tight, with all eight teams winning at least six of their 14 games but none winning more than nine.
But we have said goodbye to Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, and now it is time for finals season, starting on Thursday as the top two in the ladder, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, meet in Dubai.
Here’s a guide to everything you need to know…
How do the IPL playoffs work?
There are four fixtures remaining: Qualifier 1 (Thursday), the Eliminator (Friday, in Abu Dhabi), Qualifier 2 (Sunday, Abu Dhabi) and the Final (Tuesday, Dubai).
The best two teams in the regular season, MI and DC, meet on Thursday in Qualifier 1. The winner goes straight into Tuesday’s final.
The loser of that match is given another shot at making the final, in Sunday’s Qualifier 2.
There, they will meet the winner of Friday’s Eliminator, between the third and fourth-placed teams in the regular season, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The final will be played on Tuesday between the winner of Qualifier 1 and Qualifier 2.
When are the IPL playoff games?
All games start at 2pm GMT, and are broadcast live on Sky Sports Cricket.
What’s the English involvement in IPL playoffs?
Pretty limited, all told.
With Rajasthan Royals and their four English players finishing bottom, and the Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders just missing out on a play-off spot, only two Englishman remain in contention: Jonny Bairstow (SH) and Moeen Ali (RCB). But both men are unlikely to play.
Bairstow has been squeezed out of the Sunrisers’ team in recent games, while Moeen has played just twice all season for RCB.
Each IPL playoff team in a nutshell
Rested a couple of big guns for their last game and were duly thrashed by Sunrisers. But they look well-placed to defend their title and win the IPL for a record fifth time.
They are a well-oiled machine, certain of their gameplan and have a nice blend of potent quicks and wily spinners.
Their all-rounders, Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers, balance the side, while their local batsmen, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, have really come to the party this year.
Rohit Sharma’s swift return from a hamstring injury is a boon.
Have performed well despite a couple of big name young batsmen, Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant, struggling in recent games.
They balance the high pace of Kagiso Rabada (who tops the wicket-taking charts with 25) and Anrich Nortje with the spin of Ravi Ashwin and the criminally underrated Axar Patel.
The Capitals need to defy history, though, as they have never reached the finals before. Mumbai also did the double over them in the regular season.
Needed to beat MI in their final group game and duly did.
They won four of their last five, so arrive in form.
Shifted the balance of their team with three games to go, omitting Bairstow to allow them to select two international captains in Kane Williamson and Jason Holder, who has been in terrific form of late.
That united the incredibly consistent captain, David Warner, and veteran keeper Wriddhiman Saha at the top of the order, and they have gelled instantly.
Lost half of their group games, but have the feel of a team peaking at theright time – and have plenty of bench strength if required.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
As ever, with RCB, it’s been an adventure. They contrived to lose their last four games but still make the play-offs by the skin of their teeth.
There has not been much certainty about their selection, with all eight of their overseas players playing at least two games, but only AB de Villiers and Chris Morris being certain of their spots among that number.
Virat Kohli’s star-studded side have never won the tournament but have been better balanced this time than in recent years. Can they finally come good?