Heading into the last week of IPL 2021, here is a roundup of the big results from the past few days.
MS Dhoni steers CSK to ninth final
More mistakes in the field ended up costing table-toppers Delhi Capitals their last league match, but it was Rishabh Pant’s decision to bowl the last over of the first Qualifier from Tom Curran that proved a real momentum-killer.
Chennai Super Kings needed 13 off the final over from Curran to overtake Delhi’s total of 172. They lost Moeen Ali to the first ball, but 40-year-old MS Dhoni carved Curran for three boundaries to seal CSK’s ninth IPL final with two deliveries to spare. Pant had the option of bowling the 20th over from Kagiso Rabada, but instead went for Curran hw was playing his first match of the UAE leg of IPL 2021, and the move proved costly.
With two excellent catches and a run out from the deep, Shreyas Iyer had dragged Delhi back in the game as three wickets fell in the span of six deliveries after Ruturaj Gaikwad (70) and Robin Uthappa (63) put on 110 for the second wicket. But Dhoni walked out ahead of Ravindra Jadeja and finishes the game despite CSK needing 13 from five balls, hitting 18* off six.
“Obviously it is very disappointing, and I can’t have enough words to describe how we are feeling,” a dejected Pant said. “We are going to rectify our mistakes, learn from it and hopefully, we can move on and play the final.”
Delhi can still make the IPL final if they can beat the winner of today’s Eliminator between for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders in the second Qualifier on Wednesday.
Mumbai’s reign as IPL champions is over
Defending champions Mumbai Indians failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2018, but they didn’t go down without a fight in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Owing to a poorer net run rate than Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata, Mumbai realistically had no chance of making it to the playoffs. To do so, they would have had to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 170 runs.
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With a wry chuckle, after winning the toss, Rohit Sharma said his team would do its best against SRH. While Rohit himself underwhelmed once again, Mumbai rode on Ishan Kishan’s quickest fifty of the season to post 235/9 in their 20 overs. Kishan sped to his half-century in a mere 16 deliveries and finished with 84 from 32 before falling in the 10th over. While wickets fell, Suryakumar Yadav’s 82 off 40 balls ensured MI did not fall away.
On a flat Abu Dhabi surface, there was no chance of Mumbai bowling out SRH for 65. Jason Roy and Abhishek Sharma quickly squashed chance of a miracle with 654 for the opening wicket and with Mumbai’s bowlers were off track, somewhat, Hyderabad briefly threatened in their chase only to end on 193/8. This win for MI left them on seven wins, the same as KKR, but the five-time champions were eliminated on net run rate.
Red-hot RCB stun Delhi in last-ball finish
While most eyes were fixed on the MI versus SRH match on Friday, the other match which started at the same time, in a first for the IPL, ended up being the real thriller.
Delhi lost three wickets in 16 balls after their openers Shikhar Dhawan (43 from 35) and Prithvi Shaw (48 from 31) set them up with an opening partnership of 88, and the target for RCB was 165. Two early wickets for Anrich Nortje reduced RCB to 6/2 and when the promoted AB de Villiers departed for a run-a-ball 26, it was left to Srikar Bharat and Glenn Maxwell to produce something special.
That they did, with a 111-run stand that culminated with Bharat clearing the ropes off the final ball of the match to seal victory and book RCB’s place in the Eliminator versus KKR today. It seemed that RCB needed seven off the final ball, but a fumble by Axar Patel and then a wide down the legside from Avesh Khan reduced that to five. The bowler sent down a full toss which Bharat larruped over long-on for six, giving him 78* from 52 deliveries in the company of the in-form Maxwell, who cashed in on two drops to end with 51* from 33 balls.
“Unbelievable,” was RCB captain Virat Kohli’s assessment. “It was a game where we had nothing to lose, but still to lose early wickets and do well against a team at the top of the table is good. We’ve beaten them twice this season.”