IPL 2023 | How Mumbai Indians can qualify for Indian Premier League playoffs

IPL 2023 | How Mumbai Indians can qualify for Indian Premier League playoffs

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Suryakumar Yadav has held the key to MI's form in recent times



Few teams have endured as great a fall from grace as Mumbai Indians have in the past couple of seasons, their title-winning lores almost a thing of the distant past. However, the franchise has a winners’ DNA like no other and as long as they are in the hunt, it would be foolish to count them out.

In 2022, Mumbai Indians became just the second team to finish 10th in an IPL season – before the campaign began, they were one of the odds-on favourites to add a sixth title to their collection. Despite boasting India’s premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah, national team skipper Rohit Sharma, and the best T20I batter in the world Suryakumar Yadav in their ranks, the team crumbled like never before, succumbing to 10 defeats in their 14 games including a losing streak of eight to kick off the season.

A busy day at the auction followed and the incoming recruits instantly improved the team overall. Piyush Chawla has been the team’s highest wicket-taker, Cameron Green has had multiple match-winning performances while Nehal Wadhera is in prime contention for the Emerging Player of the Season Award. Yet, two losses awaited them at the new season’s start courtesy of two fresh dilemmas – Jasprit Bumrah missing due to injury and Suryakumar Yadav going through perhaps the worst stretch of form in his entire career. However, as the saying goes, class is permanent and it did not take SKY long to burst back to life, dragging the team along with him. Now, as things stand, they are third on the table with 14 points and a net run rate of -0.117 with two games to play, against Lucknow Super Giants and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. The side is primed to end up in the knockouts should they continue with the same form but a deep plunge could await them should Mumbai crash and burn in the remaining fixtures.

If MI win both their games

The simplest path to qualification, all Mumbai Indians need to do is win their remaining games and they’ll be guaranteed a top-three finish in the league since only Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans can match their potential points tally of 18. In fact, Mumbai Indians can gun for a top-two spot as well and equip the safety net of Qualifier 1, if CSK lose one of their two games and GT endure defeats in both their remaining encounters.

If MI lose both their games

Should the worst come to the worst for Mumbai in their remaining encounters, Lucknow Super Giants, Chennai Super Kings, and Gujarat Titans would be guaranteed to finish above them in the table, leaving just the final playoff spot up for grabs. For MI to end up clinching that berth, Rajasthan Royals would have to lose both their games since a win would take them level on points with MI and the former has a far superior net run rate of 0.140. However, one of RR’s encounters is against fellow contenders Punjab Kings, whose tally would surge to 14 points as well once they defeat Rajasthan. Thus, the side’s loss in their other game against Delhi Capitals becomes mandatory for MI’s qualification, with the five-time champions’ better net run rate the determining factor in their potential qualification.

Next are the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are in s similar boat as RR after their massive 112-run win in the latest encounter. If RCB wins even one of their two remaining fixtures, their net run rate of 0.166 more or less ensures they would end up above MI in the standings, meaning they need to lose against both Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Titans. Meanwhile, SRH have already been handed wins against RCB and MI in this scenario, which would take them to 14 points as well. While that should not be a hindrance for MI given SRH’s net run rate of -0.471, a win for the franchise against Gujarat Titans would once again doom the Indians to a fifth-placed finish at best, therefore making a win for the defending champions against SRH the final necessity for Mumbai Indians to qualify.

If MI win one and lose one game

A mixed finish to the campaign would see Mumbai Indians end on 16 points, thus directly eliminating RR, KKR, DC, and SRH from contention of overtaking them. The simplest way for Mumbai to qualify would be if Rajasthan beat Punjab in their last league-stage match of the season, which would only leave RCB and LSG in contention alongside MI for the final two spots. Thereon, if RCB lose any of their two remaining games, the side would finish on just 14 points, handing MI qualification to the playoff stage. However, if Punjab do end up winning against Rajasthan and thereby restrict themselves to 14 points, two separate scenarios branch out depending on who Mumbai win and lose against.

If Mumbai triumph against Lucknow Super Giants, the latter would be doomed to a maximum tally of 15 points – one short of MI’s tally. A similar scenario would occur if LSG defeat MI but lose to KKR. Thus, as long as SRH lose against any of RCB and GT or if their wins come by margins not substantial enough to go past MI’s, the five-time champions would end up in the top four regardless of how RCB fare in their games.

On the other hand, if LSG end up defeating Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, they’ll be secured a finish above their rivals. Similarly, SRH would be knocked out since they would only manage a maximum of 14 points once they lose to MI. Thus, with Rajasthan already out of contention, and a loss for RCB ruling them out as well, Punjab would remain the only thorn on MI’s side. The Kings would thereby need to lose against Delhi Capitals or win such that they do not surpass MI on NRR.

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