The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is going down to the wire. Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore have already booked their berths in the IPL 2021 playoffs. There is only one sport remaining in the Playoffs, which begin on Sunday (October 10).
Defending champions Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders are the two remaining teams in fray for the final Playoff berth. KKR and MI will fight it out in the coming days as they play their last respective group stage matches on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
Eoin Morgan’s KKR have been on song ever since IPL 2021 moved to UAE, winning four of the six matches they have played since the resumption. The win in their last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad did them a world of good as they currently sit at the pole position to qualify for the playoffs. Having played 13 games, Kolkata have 12 points to their name, and their net run-rate is +0.294.
Rohit Sharma’s MI, on the other hand, found back their form just when they needed it the most. Their resounding win over Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday (October 5) took them level on points with Kolkata. Both these teams have identical points, but Mumbai’s run-rate is -0.048, which has kept them out of the top-four.
Kolkata Knight Riders
For KKR, the equation is pretty simple, win the last game against Rajasthan Royals and book your place in the playoffs. A win on Thursday (October 7) would take them to 14 points, which is also the maximum number of points Mumbai can achieve this season if they win their last match.
With the advantage of a better run-rate, Morgan’s side is just a win away from the playoffs. However, their last match against the Royals is not going to be easy. They may have looked below par against MI at Sharjah, but they stopped the MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings juggernau. KKR will face RR in Sharjah, whose pitch has played tricky throughout the season.
Ishan Kishan’s sensational 50 off 25 balls powered the five-time champions to an eight-wicket win in just 8.2 over to boost their net run-rate. This result worked wonders for Rohit Sharma and his team as it took them level on points with KKR and improved their run-rate substantially.
Nothing short of a win would do for them on Friday, even if Kolkata lose their last match against RR.
If both teams win, KKR qualify on the virtue of a better run-rate. If both KKR and MI lose their last group games, Morgan’s team will advance because of a better run-rate. If Kolkata lose and Mumbai win, MI will have the chance to go a step closer to their third consecutive IPL title.
If Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals both win their last matches and if Kolkata and Mumbai both lose, then also Kolkata would proceed because both PBKS and RR have far inferior run rate than Kolkata.