Mumbai Indians might be eliminated even before the toss against Sunrisers Hyderabad after Kolkata Knight Riders registered a massive win against Rajasthan Royals.
The final day of the IPL 2021 league stages will decide who will be the fourth team in the play-off. Delhi Capitals are assured of the top spot while Royal Challengers Bangalore might have to beat the Delhi side by a massive margin to ensure that they pip Chennai Super Kings to the second spot in the table. Chennai Super Kings lost for the third consecutive time just before the playoffs. KL Rahul’s magnificent 98 helped Punjab Kings beat the three-time champions by a big margin.
However, Rajasthan Royals’ massive loss ensured that Punjab Kings were out of the playoff race. The huge win by Kolkata Knight Riders has boosted their Net Run Rate to such an extent that it is now close to impossible for Mumbai Indians to get into the top four. In fact, when the coin is tossed against Sunrisers Hyderabad, they could be eliminated in this way.
Mumbai Indians will be eliminated at the toss against Sunrisers Hyderabad. If Kane Williamson wins the toss and opts to bat, then MI will be eliminated even before the first ball is bowled. But, even if Mumbai Indians opt to bat, the situation is still grim for Rohit Sharma’s side. They will have to post a total in excess of 250 and then beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by a massive margin of 170 runs or more.
Miracles have happened in the past for the MI In 2014, they had to chase down a target of 190 in 14 overs in order to enter the playoffs. When the 14th over was completed, Mumbai Indians had drawn level with Rajasthan Royals and it seemed the Royals would secure the fourth spot. However, the officials stated that if Mumbai Indians scored a boundary off the first ball of the 15th over, they would enter the playoffs. Aditya Tare hit a six off James Faulkner and Mumbai Indians sealed the fourth-place spot.
But, miracles in 2021 might be too much to expect for the Mumbai Indians. The Net Run Rate of the Kolkata Knight Riders is 0.587 while that of Rohit Sharma’s side is -0.048. It is a massive task.
The last time Mumbai Indians failed to reach the playoff stage of the IPL was in 2018. They finished in the fifth spot in the points table behind Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Rajasthan Royals. In that edition, the Chennai Super Kings staged a fabulous comeback as they won the title for the third time.
The pattern repeated in 2016 when Mumbai Indians finished in the fifth position. For the last decade, Mumbai Indians have been the dominant side in the history of the IPL. They won the title in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and in 2020. It seemed that the odd years would benefit Mumbai Indians while their gains in the even years would be bad.
But, the tables have turned in 2021. For the first time since 2011, Mumbai Indians will not enter the playoffs or defend the title in an odd year. After winning the title for the first time in an even year, the aspirations of the Mumbai Indians side for a hat-trick of IPL titles has been dented.
Delhi Capitals have assured themselves of a top spot. Chennai Super Kings lost to Punjab Kings in their last league game. That means just like in 2019 and 2020, Delhi Capitals have two chances of reaching the final. However, the loss by Chennai Super Kings has given Royal Challengers Bangalore a chance to secure a spot in the top two.
For that to happen, Royal Challengers Bangalore need to beat Delhi Capitals by a margin of close to 100 runs. In that way, they can get the better of Chennai Super Kings. MS Dhoni’s team has an NRR of 0.455. RCB is -0.159. Virat Kohli’s team will have to once again ensure that their inconsistency does not hurt them in the Eliminator.
Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, are in fine form. They have become the first team to beat Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians twice in the same edition of IPL. For many years, Delhi Capitals have been the laggards when it comes to IPL titles. Now, they are potentially two games away from winning the IPL title for the first time.