IPL 2021: Can Defending Champions Mumbai Indians Make it Through to Playoffs?
Mumbai Indians are fifth on the IPL points table, behind KKR who are fourth.
Considered to be one of the finest teams in the T20 format after they won IPL 2020, the Mumbai Indians captained by Rohit Sharma have been a far cry from their lofty standards. IPL 2021 has the MI thinktank scratching their heads and looking for solutions, quick ones, as they hope to get out of a spot of bother.
A 6-wicket win against Punjab Kings on Wednesday in their 11th game fetched MI 2 points, taking them to 10, the same as KKR, who have a better NRR.
Currently at fifth on the points table and with a real chance of missing out on the playoffs, MI have quite a task on hand as they look to get the job done. Given the way things stand on the points table, it could even come down to NRR eventually.
What is the Qualification Scenario?
Both MI and KKR have three games to go, 10 points and are fifth and fourth respectively on the points table. The Eoin Morgan led side have a better NRR and both teams have 3 games to go in the league stage.
Punjab, Hyderabad and Rajasthan are KKR’s final three games while Delhi, Rajasthan and Hyderabad are the final ones for MI.
MI will be hoping that one of Punjab, SRH or RR can do some damage to KKR’s hopes which would then open the door for the defending champions. And while that is out of their control, the one thing MI will want to do is ensure that they win the remaining three games, which is their safest way through the maze.
If KKR do not drop points though, it could be troublesome for MI as the NRR calculations come into the picture.
Hence, it is essential that MI bring their most ruthless-self to the game in the final 3 rounds. The five-time winners are usually slow starters and pick up the pace as the tournament progresses.
However, is it too late?
What’s Gone Wrong?
Among the biggest concerns for Mumbai has been the misfiring batting, especially the middle-order. The likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan were brilliant in IPL 2020 but have not lived up to their high standards.
Suryakumar has scored 189 runs in 11 innings while Kishan has contributed only 107 runs in 8 knocks. And while Rohit has been among the runs, he hasn’t scored them at the quickest rate, putting more pressure on the batters after him.
What’s added to the problems is the fact that the Pandya brothers too have been far from their dynamic selves, leaving Kieron Pollard with plenty to do later on. Add to that, the fact that MI’s bench strength isn’t the greatest has caused quite a bit of concern for Rohit and co.
While batting has been among the biggest concerns for MI, the bowling too has suffered as Rahul Chahar, who has 13 wickets from 11 games, hasn’t had much support from Krunal. Hardik not bowling too has disrupted the balance of the side, which has not helped them in anyway.
Can Rohit and co paper over these issues or will they continue snowball and eventually lead to MI not making the playoffs?
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