Kolkata: The last day of league matches of IPL 2021 in the UAE on Friday ends with a double-header - but a thumping win for Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday evening has put reigning champions Mumbai Indians facing a Mission Impossible now.
Both matches will start at 6 pm UAE time in a first in IPL history - Mumbai Indians taking on Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi as Delhi Capitals round off their engagements against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai.
However, Mumbai need nothing less than a miracle to qualify for the play-offs as the Knights have all but sealed a top four finish with an 86-run win over Rajasthan Royals. Now in fifth position in the table, the holders will need to beat Sunrisers by 171 runs – a permutation which borders on the impossible.
MI have 12 points but their Net Run Rate is -0.048 while KKR boosted their’s to +0.587 after their victory on Thursday.
Meanwhile, RCB also have a mathematical chance of displacing Chennai Super Kings from the top two if they beat Delhi Capitals in the other game. CSK are currently at the second spot with 18 points and a Net Run Rate of +0.455 while RCB have -0.159.
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Speaking to Delhi Capitals media, Kagiso Rabada - Delhi’s South African attacking lynchpin said: “It’s been a great season. We’ve given ourselves another chance to play for a spot in the final, so we are thrilled by that. Even though the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore doesn’t hold a lot of significance for us we should not take our foot off the pedal. We should just keep playing the way we have been playing.”
Asked if the first leg loss to RCB will be playing on their minds, Rabada said: “Our loss against RCB in the first half of the tournament is definitely a thing of the past. However, we know how threatening they can be. They have some really destructive batters and Harshal Patel has been doing extremely well. We need to believe in our strengths. The result in our last match against RCB is a thing of the past, but we still need to learn from that result.
We’ve done really great work so far. We have earned the right to be in this position and we have been in this position before, which helps. We are going to give it our all in the upcoming matches and look to play our best cricket in the business-end of the tournament
The express bowler, who was often overshadowed by his ‘partner-in-crime’ Anrich Nortje in the UAE leg of the season, added that the team will look to play its best cricket in the business-end of the tournament, “We’ve done really great work so far. We have earned the right to be in this position and we have been in this position before, which helps. We are going to give it our all in the upcoming matches and look to play our best cricket in the business-end of the tournament.”
Rabada found himself in a rather unusual situation in Delhi Capitals’ last match against Chennai when he needed to close out the match with the bat. Looking back at it, he said: “It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but I backed myself to put the team in a winning position when we needed 2 runs from 3 balls, by at least getting Hetmyer on strike. I tried to watch the ball and anticipate where Bravo was going to bowl. I just wanted to get bat on ball and that worked for us.”
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians
Abu Dhabi, 6 pm UAE
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Capitals
Dubai, 6 pm