Only Kolkata and Rajasthan have destiny in their own hands

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safari
05 Oct 2021 | 04:57 AM
authorSomesh Agarwal

Only Kolkata and Rajasthan have destiny in their own hands

IPL 2021 Qualification Scenario: The game between Mumbai and Rajasthan is a virtual knockout for both sides

Just like how the tournament’s first-half in India ended, the top three teams have run away creating a gulf between them and the other five. The battle for the fourth spot and a chance for Royal Challengers Bangalore to pip Chennai Super Kings for the second spot will be the keenly watched scenarios in the remaining matches.

Let us start with the bigger muddle that is the fight for the fourth spot. 

Kolkata Knight Riders

Current Points: 12

Remaining Fixtures: 

v RR, Sharjah, Oct 7

The playoff route for Kolkata is simpler than the sides below them on the table. They need to beat Rajasthan to get to 14 points which should be enough to give them the fourth spot. If they beat Rajasthan, Mumbai Indians are the only team that might reach 14 points as well. However, KKR with a net run rate (NRR) of 0.294 are miles ahead of MI’s -0.453. How much ahead? Even if KKR win against RR in a Super Over, Mumbai will have to chase down a target of 150 in less than 10 overs in both their remaining games to go past KKR’s NRR. Anything can happen in cricket but this will be beyond the reach even of a team like Mumbai.

Things can get murkier if KKR lose their last game. This will open the door for both Mumbai and Rajasthan depending on who wins the game between them on October 5th. Kolkata would ideally want Mumbai to beat Rajasthan and then lose their last game. If these three sides get stuck at 12 points, NRR will come into the equation where Kolkata have an advantage by a practically unassailable margin. 

Rajasthan Royals

Current Points: 10

Remaining Fixtures: 

v MI, Sharjah, Oct 5
v KKR, Sharjah, Oct 7

Rajasthan’s win against Chennai have put them in a better scenario on the qualification front. While the focus is on the mighty Mumbai, Rajasthan are the only other side after Kolkata to have the fortunes in their own hands.

If Rajasthan manage to beat both Mumbai and Kolkata in their last two games, they will qualify at the fourth spot. Both their remaining games are virtual knockouts given a loss to Mumbai will dent their NRR further. If KKR beats them, they will take the fourth spot as stated above.

Mumbai Indians

Current Points: 10

Remaining Fixtures:

v RR, Sharjah, Oct 5
v SRH, Abu Dhabi, Oct 8

To qualify, Mumbai not only need to win both their remaining games but also hope that Rajasthan spoils Kolkata’s party in their last game. If Mumbai lose to Rajasthan, they will be out of the competition as it will ensure that either RR and KKR will finish with 14 points.

Even if Mumbai wins against Rajasthan but loses to Sunrisers, the mathematical probability of them making it to the playoffs will be negligible. They will have to beat Rajasthan by chasing around 150 in under 10 overs and hope Rajasthan beat Kolkata by a similar margin. Or a margin of around 90 runs for the team batting first. That is beyond optimism.

Punjab Kings

Current Points: 8

Remaining Fixtures: 

v CSK, Dubai, Oct 7

Punjab Kings might still be in it on paper but not only do they need to beat Chennai by a handsome margin, but they also require a lot of different results to go their way. For them to qualify, they would hope Mumbai beats Rajasthan but loses to Sunrisers. And Rajasthan defeats Kolkata by those above mentioned unrealistic margins. They should already start thinking about next year.

The fight for top-2

Apart from the fourth spot, the battle is on for the crucial second spot as well. With a win over Chennai, Delhi have guaranteed a top-2 finish. Bangalore is still in there with a chance.

If Bangalore manages to win their remaining two games against SRH and DC, they will end up with 20 points. On the other hand, if CSK loses to Punjab, they will remain on 18 points and will slip to the third spot. 

However, even if Bangalore wins their last two and Chennai also wins their last game, both sides will be tied at 20 points. The gulf in their NRR will ensure that Chennai then takes the top spot on the table while Delhi will move to the second spot. 

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Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai IndiansIndian Premier League, 2021Mumbai IndiansKolkata Knight RidersRajasthan RoyalsPunjab KingsChennai Super KingsRoyal Challengers Bangalore

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