Editor’s note: The article has been updated after Match No 54 between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders.
While the possibilities and probabilities are nearly not the same as they were in 2020, the Indian Premier League’s 2021 group phase comes to a close on Friday in United Arab Emirates with the playoff spots all but decided.
Here’s a look at how the points table is and what the remaining matches are (will be updated daily till spots are confirmed):
Points table after match No 54
|Q||Chennai Super Kings||14||9||5||+0.455||18|
|Q||Royal Challengers Bangalore||13||8||5||-0.159||16|
|4||Kolkata Knight Riders||14||7||7||+0.587||14|
|55||8-Oct||SRH vs MI||Abu Dhabi||7:30 PM|
|56||8-Oct||RCB vs DC||Dubai||7:30 PM|
Delhi Capitals (Q)
Remaining matches: RCB (Dubai)
The name change has worked like a treat for the Delhi franchise. After qualifying for the playoffs in the first season as Capitals and reaching the final in their second, the Delhi side will seek to end their long wait for the title. They became the second team to qualify for playoffs this season, playing a brand of consistent cricket through both the legs.
Rishabh Pant and Co sit pretty on 20 points with one match left. They are assured the top spot.
Chennai Super Kings (Q)
Remaining matches: PBKS (Dubai)
After being the first side to be eliminated from the playoffs race in IPL 2020, CSK became the first team to qualify in 2021. MS Dhoni and Co have produced a stunning turnaround, not because they qualified for the post-season as that’s what they usually do, but doing it by not changing much from the squad that struggled badly in the previous season.
A run of three defeats has hampered the mood around the franchise but their early season NRR has ensured that they will finish in the top two, with only a mathematical possibility for RCB on final day to overtake them.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Q)
Remaining matches: DC (Dubai)
There are no astronomical calculations this time for post-season. As the third team with playoff qualification assured, RCB’s equation was simple. Win both remaining matches, and hope Punjab can also beat CSK in the meantime.
If they had defeated SRH, a win against DC on final day would have been enough to finish top two. Alas that didn’t happen. Hypothetically, if RCB score 240 and bowl Delhi out for 75, they can beat CSK into the top two.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The team that holds the best position in the race for the final playoff spot is KKR. Eoin Morgan and Co, despite their inconsistencies over the season, had reached the business end with matters in their own hands.
And with a massive win against RR in Sharjah, they are all but through to the playoffs in fourth place.
It has been a wretched season by Mumbai Indians lofty recent standards. The two-time defending champions have simply not been at the races consistently enough. But with two matches to go, they still had a realistic chance to go through. They had to avoid defeat against RR to avoid early elimination but they went and did their case a favour by blowing RR out of the waters.
But their early season poor form came back to bite them and they are all but eliminated before their final match. Hypothetically, if they bat first and score 200-plus and defeat SRH by a margin of 170-plus runs, they can pip KKR. If they chase, they are eliminated even before the match begins.
Punjab Kings (Eliminated)
A hugely impressive win against CSK gave them brief hopes but RR’s defeat ended their campaign. Another season of what-ifs for Punjab.
Rajasthan Royals (Eliminated)
With two matches to go we had said this: Good news for RR, they face teams directly involved in the playoff race. Bad news for RR, they face teams directly involved in the playoff race.
And bad news it turned out to be, they lost both matches. Another forgettable season for the Royals.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (Eliminated)
Nothing left to play for themselves, SRH did end up playing spoilsport for RCB’s hopes of finishing in the top two.