Mumbai Indians (MI) suffered a morale-denting defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) last Sunday, and now have to rely on other teams’ results to have any chances of making it to the last four of IPL 2015.
Mumbai were doing so well until before the game against the Royal Challengers, as they had won all their previous five fixtures and 12 points to their name after 11 games.
The batting lineup, led by thein-form opening duo of Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons, have struck form; the bowling attack, led by Lasith Malinga, has started picking wickets; the fielding, however, has been shocking to say the least. But as a unit, Mumbai have come on leaps and bounds as the season has progressed.
Last Sunday’s game against RCB was such a pivotal fixture, and the Indians knew it, despite clinching a brilliant victory against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) a couple of days earlier.
It was all down to an astonishing AB de Villiers show, with the South African scoring a blistering 133 (59) and escalating his side’s total to a mammoth 235/1 from 20 overs.
MI bowlers had no answer to de Villiers, but the home side was guilty of dropping Virat Kohli, de Villiers’ batting partner, when the Delhi dasher gave an easy catch to Harbhajan Singh at first slip in just the third over of the game.
236 was a daunting total to chase and, barring a miracle, Mumbai were always going to come up short.
Another significant dimension to this game was that of the net-run-rate for Mumbai: by way of those five consecutive victories they had managed to bring down the negative net run rate, but a significant loss to the Challengers by 39 runs, saw their run-rate dwindle further to -0.302.
Midst all such odds, what are MI’s chances of making it to the last four for the sixth consecutive season? Which are the teams Mumbai can depend on, to clinch that 3rd or 4th spot? Can they do it?
Read on… to get the answers.
Scenario concerning Mumbai in IPL 2015
Mumbai, who are currently in 6th place on the IPL points table, have two games – at home against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and away to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) – left to play, and the maximum number of points they can get to, at the end of 14 games, is 16.
Their upcoming opponents are in very good nick, and won’t be easy to beat, at all.
As of now, no IPL side is assured of a playoff spot, though CSK sit on top of the table with 16 points, and are followed by KKR with 15 points, as the teams with the most number of points at this very moment.
However, since the Super Kings have a positive net-run-rate (+0.813) and already 16 points under their belt, it will be extremely difficult for Mumbai to catch them, with the South Indian franchise still having two games in hand.
Mumbai play KKR at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday and must beat Gautam Gambhir’s side to keep their chances alive.
But, sadly, even if they do manage to beat them, the Knight Riders will still have a game to play against Rajasthan Royals (RR) and the potential of reaching 17 points, which is beyond the reach of Mumbai.
Next up on the table are the Royals, whose season has waned away after registering victories in each of their first five fixtures; they now sit in third place with 14 points to their name and have just one game left to play.
Therefore, they, like Mumbai, can only get to 16 points, though they have a positive net-run-rate of +0.027.
Royals’ fixture against Knight Riders is one which Mumbai will definitely keep an eye on, provided that they beat the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise on Thursday.
If Mumbai beat Kolkata on Thursday and KKR defeat Royals a couple of days later, RR will most likely be out of the reckoning.
On the flip side, if KKR lose both their games and Mumbai win their remaining two, Kolkata, currently with 15 points, will go below Mumbai, who then might have a better chance of making it to the last four.
The other two sides that hold the key to Mumbai’s chances of making it to the playoffs are the Royal Challengers and Sunrisers.
Sunrisers have 14 points from 12 games, including a slightly better net-run-rate of -0.017. Their two remaining games are against RCB and MI, which makes this scenario all the more engrossing to work out.
SRH, despite currently having more points than both Mumbai and Bangalore, might have to win each one of those two games, as they both are against teams that are fighting for a place in the playoffs.
From Mumbai’s perspective, they will have control over Sunrisers’ passage into the playoffs, as they play against them this upcoming Sunday.
However, Mumbai’s net-run-rate is way below Sunrisers’, which might hold the key to this tussle between these two teams vying for a top four spot.
Shifting focus to RCB, they are in a very good position compared to their rivals for the playoffs. They have only played 11 games, but already have 13 points to their name.
Therefore, two wins from their remaining three games would take them beyond MI’s reach, which is why it was pivotal for Mumbai to win against Kohli’s men last Sunday.
Also, since RCB only have one game against a direct playoff rival in Sunrisers, Mumbai cannot expect to benefit too much from the Challengers’ upcoming fixtures.
Last IPL season, which also followed this 8-team format, 14 points were enough for Mumbai to reach the playoffs as the last entrant. This season, however, even 16 points may not be enough for a team looking to making it to the last four. Mumbai will first have to win their remaining two games, before they can hope for other results to go their way.
They also got to keep an eye on their current net-run-rate and somehow turn it into a positive net-run-rate, which might well decide this battle for a place in the IPL 2015 playoffs. The Royals and Sunrisers will hold the key to Mumbai’s chances of making it to the playoffs. Rajasthan can only reach 16 points, even if they win against KKR on Saturday. Sunrisers, even if they beat the Royal Challengers, will have to play Mumbai and it could become a straight shootout between the two teams.