Five-time champions Mumbai Indians will have to beat bottom-ranked Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final league match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday, fully aware of the tricky situation they found in their bid for the play-offs. .
With an eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals, the defending champions are currently fifth with 12 points from 13 games with a net run rate of -0.048.
But, Kolkata Knight Riders, with a net run rate of +0.294, are fourth with 12 points from 13 games and will play Rajasthan Royals on Thursday evening in Sharjah.
KKR’s victory over RR puts them at 14 points and further improves their net run rate. In that case, the gap in their NRR with KKR is not small so it may seem very difficult for them to qualify for the MI play-off even if they beat SRH.
When asked if it would be beneficial to play for a team like SRH on the final day, MI captain Rohit Sharma said, “A total of eight teams are capable of beating each other. But the good thing is, KKR plays in front of us, so we know what to do
If KKR loses, a win would be enough to close the fourth play-off spot as MI have 14 points.
However, Rohit (363) should lead again from the front. He started but could not change them, and the great white-ball exponent would itch for a big score.
Also becoming his opening partner is Ishan Kishan (157), his confidence will be boosted from his unbeaten fifty against RR.
The Sunrisers, who have already counted for a play-off berth, are looking to finish the tournament high.
Captain Kane Williamson is back between runs and is eager to start from where he left on Wednesday.
Kiwi, however, needs support from relatively inexperienced people like Jason Roy and Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad and aggressive Wriddhiman Saha.
Along with pace sensation Urman Malik, SRH has the best bowling attack and the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Siddharth Kaul have to be outstanding to have MI’s explosive batting line-up.
Also, the contribution of West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder along with the bat and ball will be crucial.
RCB had an eye win against formidable DC before heading into the playoffs
The Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have been assured of a play-off berth, will recover quickly from their defeat in the previous game and face the Delhi Capitals, who finished the league stage high and finished table-top in their last IPL round-robin game.
Despite Delhi (20 points from 13 matches) advancing to the top two, RCB missed out on a chance to finish second in the points table at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday night.
With 16 points and a low net run rate for second-placed Chennai Super Kings, RCB’s top-two finishing hopes were dashed after losing to SRH.
However, captain Virat Kohli observes the outcome of Thursday’s CSK-Punjab Kings match and gets a clear idea of how to finish second in their last match, which is at least a difficult task to say.
Despite having a formidable batting line-up including Kohli along with AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Devdat Padikkal, the RCB failed to chase down less than 141-7 against the SRH and had to streamline their batting before they could enter the knockout stage.
After a moderate run in 2020, Maxwell is in sparkling form for the RCB and can turn things around on his own like De Villiers.
The Australian power-hitter scored 447 with five 50s and wanted to continue a good run, but de Villiers did not make the impact he wanted.
If Kohli can get a strong start at the top along with impressive paddles, the powerful middle order will do a lot of damage.
The bowling unit of RCB also did a good job doing jobs in the pace department like Mohammad Siraj, Herschelle Patel and George Gorton.
In the spin department, Yuzvendra Chahal has surpassed his past struggles with the most impressive spells this season, but Shahbaz Ahmed has also put a check on his team.
On the other hand, the Rishabh Pant-led Delhi team has won four of the last five matches.
Skipper Pant has been criticized for being too aggressive and it remains to be seen whether he will show restraint and contribute at large.
While Prithviraj Shah was unstable while Shikhar Dhawan (501 from 13 innings) was at the top, DC had a strong batting line-up.
Shreyas Iyer and Pant also defended the team a few times, but they want more consistency.
There is a strong bowling attack in Delhi.