The Gujarat Lions made an early surge, and after a bit of a hiccup in the middle, they finished strong, in true T20 style to end up as the No.1 team of the league stages of IPL 2016. While the Gujarat Lions took top honours, the Royal Challengers Bangalore impressed the most, while the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kolkata Knight Riders picked up wins when they needed to, to round out the top four for this season.
There is nothing more fun that the final few days of the IPL league season, with teams clamouring to finish in that top four of the points table and with it put themselves in a position to take home the wonderfully-golden prize.
Right now that prize looks like going RCB's way, after they won their last four matches to not just give themselves two bites at the cherry of making it to the final in Bengaluru next Sunday, but also do it in such style and with such aplomb that no team will be looking forward to facing them.
The teams that missed out on an opportunity to try and stop the RCB juggernaut will be left disappointed, particularly the Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Daredevils. The Rising Pune Supergiants and Kings XI Punjab were out of the running fairly early – even if they exited the tournament by playing in one of the most exciting matches of the season -- but MI and DD had the chance to make it to the playoffs, had they been able to pull out a victory in their final games.
However, with the pressure on, the little bit of inconsistency that was there throughout the tournament came to the fore, and that eventually cost them a place in the playoffs.
MI's elimination after the league stages also means we will have a new champion, with three of the teams, having never won the IPL title before – the Deccan Chargers won the title in the second edition of the IPL, but with new ownership and a new name, SRH should be considered as a new different franchise, even if the two teams played in the same city that is Hyderabad.
Only KKR have won this title before, and that too more than once, so they will have an advantage. But then, as we have seen from the league stages, making predictions is a near-impossible thing in IPL 2016.
IPL 2016 league stages final standings: