How Ahmedabad Smash Masters can qualify for the 2018 PBL semi-finals

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How Ahmedabad Smash Masters can qualify for the 2018 PBL semi-finals

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Subhayan Dutta

01/09/2018

Awadhe Warriors’ shocking 6-(-1) defeat to Hyderabad Hunters and Chennai Smashers’ narrow 3-2 win over Bengaluru Blasters mathematically ended duo’s chances of making it to the semi-finals of the PBL table. We take a look at what the Ahmedabad Smash Masters need to make it to the last four.

Ahmedabad’s defeat to Chennai and the latter’s win over the Blasters has lifted the Smashers to the fifth place on the table which has eliminated them, along with Awadhe Warriors, from the competition. The Masters now sit at the third place with 12 points and a game in hand to control their own destiny in the competition. 

The PBL debutants play Mumbai Rockets next, who sit two points behind them, while 6th and 7th placed Delhi Dashers and North Eastern Warriors, who play each other, are just a point off them. In the four games that they have played thus far, Ahmedabad have managed to the average 3 points a game while Mumbai have been able to get just 2.5 points.

As things stand, Ahmedabad would need just three points to secure a place in the last four of the competition since the loser of the Delhi-North Eastern game could earn just three points which would not be enough to overtake the Masters. However, the onus will still be on the Masters to get it right in their match though and on paper, it doesn’t look like it is going to be much of a challenge for them. 

Despite having star players like Son Wan Ho and Beiwen Zhang, Mumbai have hardly been able to kill a game this season. While Ho has been able to win only 4 games out of 10 that he has played, Zhang could manage only 3 from 11. And their expected opponents in the next game, HS Prannoy and Tai Tzu Ying, have been brilliant so far with their sole defeats coming against Tanongsak and PV Sindhu respectively, in the last game. Out of the three regular matchups for the Masters, Nandagopal/Reginald, Juhl/ Reginald and Sourabh Verma, they need just one win and they will be through to the next round. The only problem that the Masters would face will be that they cannot pick Prannoy or Tai as their trump because that would have been game and match for them to get to the target of three points.

What if Ahmedabad lose 3-2 to Mumbai

This is an interesting one. If Ahmedabad lose the match against Mumbai by a point, the latter would be eliminated straight away on the basis of total points. However, that leaves Ahmedabad in a precarious position as a 4-3 result in the other game would them level on points with one of the teams. In such a scenario, the team that has the better points difference points won to points lost in all their matches would qualify for the semis. While North Eastern Warriors have a -27 points difference, Ahmedabad (45) and Delhi (32) are ahead of them. However, if Delhi are the team that lose out in the final league game, it would come down to points between the two and the pendulum could swing either way. 

What if Ahmedabad lose 4-1 to Mumbai

This is again a tricky one for the debutants. Mumbai will make it through in this scenario but Ahmedabad are still not out of it. As long as they keep the individual games in the match against Mumbai close, they will have a chance to come out unscathed. However, for that to happen they would require a miracle 2-1 result in the other game to stand a chance of qualification.

Anything short of this and Ahmedabad's debut campaign, despite being exciting, will end up as a failed one. However, the odds of that happening are slim but if the PBL has shown us anything in the last two years, it is the fact that literally, anything is possible.

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