IPL 2021 Qualification Scenarios: MI & KKR Have Task Cut Out
Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals lead the table with 16 points each.
Can the Mumbai Indians make it out of the muddle? The defending champions in IPL 2021 have not had the best season and could miss out on making it to the playoffs if they aren’t careful. However, the 6-wicket win against Punjab Kings on Tuesday definitely keeps them in the hunt, even though they aren’t in the top 4.
The final stages of the league phase of IPL 2021 is here with 14 games still to go before the top 4 is finalised. As yet, none of the teams have completely secured their berth in the final four with Sunrisers Hyderabad the only team who is pretty much out of contention.
SRH have won only 2 games and with 4 more to play, they can only gather a total of 12 points which won’t be enough to take them through to the playoffs.
At the other end of the table though, Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals have pulled ahead of the rest of the pack and aren’t likely to have a slip-up bad enough to see them drop out of contention.
While Delhi will be looking to improve on their campaign last year when they were losing finalists, CSK led by MS Dhoni will hope to leave UAE with good memories unlike IPL 2020.
Here’s a look at the qualification scenarios for all the teams involved.
Chennai Super Kings
Currently the leader of the pack with 16 points from 10 games, MS’s side have been a far cry from their disappointing performance last year. CSK have four more games to play, SRH, RR, DC and PBKS. While the MSD led team essentially one win away from having a capital Q next to their name, they will be keen to finish with as many points as possible to carry the momentum into the final round. CSK also boast of the best NRR going into the final set of games.
Captained by the inimitable Rishabh Pant this season, Delhi have been well and truly in a league of their own. They have the same number of points as CSK but have played one game more than the team in yellow, registering only 3 defeats. A win against KKR in Sharjah would have sealed the deal for DC but they have three more chances. The Pant led side though have a slightly difficult run-in in the final 3 games as they play MI, CSK and RCB – all of whom are good form. For DC, one of the big concerns will be an injury to Prithvi Shaw as they look to finish in the top 2.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
All set to have a new captain from next season after Virat Kohli announced that he would not be leading the side after IPL 2021, RCB were in fine form when the tournament was forced to be suspended due to COVID-19. After 10 games, RCB have 12 points and seemed to have found their mojo in the game against MI.
The Kohli led side has to play Rajasthan, Punjab and Hyderabad before the Delhi Capitals game rounds up their league campaign. A couple of wins from the final four games should be enough to take RCB through to the top 4, but Kohli and co will not want to let up the intensity and allow uncontrollable factors to dominate their efforts.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The situation is slightly tricky for the Eoin Morgan led side, who have lost more than they have won. With 11 games played, KKR are on 10 points with 6 defeats to their name. However, three wins in their last 4 games have catapulted them into the top 4 and in contention for a playoff berth.
Punjab, Hyderabad and Rajasthan are KKR’s final three games and Morgan and co will back themselves to pick up the required points. A win in all three would be enough but the fact that they’re one of three teams to have a positive NRR also reduces the pressure somewhat. The NRR could mean that 2 wins are eventually enough, but Morgan and co will not want to wait on other results for qualification.
The defending champions have been in quite a spot of bother in the league phase of the IPL with their young and talented middle-order not firing as they would have liked. The likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan were brilliant last year but have not been able to replicate the form this season, which has been one of the main concerns as they registered 6 defeats in 11 games.
Currently at 5th with three games left for MI, Rohit Sharma’s side has quite a task on hand. MI lost three consecutive games at the start of the UAE leg of the tournament which set them back a fair bit. Usually slow starters, MI now have to win their final three games to keep up their hopes of making the final 4, and what does not help them is the fact their NRR is better than only SRH.
The defending champions face Delhi, Rajasthan and Hyderabad in their final three games and any slip-up could be very costly. Rohit and co will need to be at their ruthless best.
The KL Rahul led side are a distance away from qualifying for the playoffs with 4 wins from 11 games. It is almost impossible for them to make it into the final 4 from here on in, however to have any chance of staying alive in the deep end of the tournament they would need to win all their final games by handsome margins.
Up next for them are KKR, RCB and CSK.
For Punjab to progress, they will need teams above them, KKR, MI and RCB, to lose comprehensively, and that too more than one game.
Badly hit by the absence of their impactful English players this season, the Royals captained by Sanju Samson have 8 points from 10 games. They face KKR, MI, CSK and RCB in their final four games and would need to win all of them to have any hopes of progressing to the knockouts.
The situation is arguably the toughest for the Royals at this point in time but it is difficult to count teams out in the shortest format. One big win could snowball into more, which was RR will hope for. If that does happen, it sets the cat among the pigeons as the final 4 would look very different in that case. Can Samson and co pull one of out of the bag?
SRH have had quite a troublesome season and the absence of David Warner, in terms of form and on the field, has been felt quite a bit. With 2 wins from 10 games, SRH are pretty much out of contention for a spot in the final 4, but could be the team that spoils the party for the others.
SRH, with Jason Roy looking good at the top of the order, have CSK, KKR, RCB and MI to play before the wrap up their season.
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