Dubai, September 16: The IPL 2021 second phase will begin at the UAE from Sunday (September 19) when arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians go against each other. Mumbai are the defending champions of the tournament.
There are other worthy contenders who can snap Mumbai Indian's aspirations. MyKhel takes a look at the qualification scenario of four teams, including Mumbai, and their key players.
1. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Current position: The Virat Kohli-led RCB are sitting pretty with 10 points from 7 matches, and third on the IPL 2021 points only because of an inferior net run rate to Chennai Super Kings. They are at a sniffing distance to a Play Off berth as three wins from their remaining matches can assure them a place in the knockouts. It is not a task beyond their reach.
Key batsman: AB de Villiers. Once again, the burden of main batter will be on the shoulder of AB de Villiers. Lack of match practice etc does not exist in the AB World.
Key bowler: Wanindu Hasranga. The young Sri Lankan was a prize catch for the Royal Challengers. His leg-spin will come handy for RCB in the slower pitches of the UAE and he can contribute with the bat at the lower order too.
2. Chennai Super Kings
Current position: The MS Dhoni-led Super Kings are perched on the second place with 10 points from 7 matches and they will be eager to seal the play-off berth, that they missed in the IPL 2020, without much ado. Like RCB, the CSK too can enter the knockouts straightway if they win 3 of the remaining 7 matches.
Key batsman: Moeen Ali: The England all-rounder was in sparkling form in the recent Hundred. The CSK will require a similar effort from Moeen. Needless to say, his crafty off-spin will be handy for the Super Kings on the UAE tracks. He can play those beefy shots too in the lower or upper middle-order which will be crucial for CSK.
Key bowler: Shardul Thakur: The India pacer has grown leaps and bounds in the last few months. Shardul will have to come up with a frugal spell up front and then, if needed, should score some quick runs down the order. A task he is perfectly capable of.
3. Mumbai Indians
The defending champions under Rohit Sharma is 4th on the table with 8 points from 7 matches. While they are very much in the mix for a play-off, the MI would not like to keep it hanging for late. Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals are sniffing behind their neck with 6 points. The easy way out is to win at least four games from the remaining lot, go to 16 points - a good stepping stone to knockouts.
Key batsman: Rohit Sharma: The MI captain has now become India's all-format batsman and his confidence might be at sky at this point. A true legend in white ball format, Rohit would need to lead MI's charge from opening slot.
Key bowler: Jasprit Bumrah: Slow pitch. Quick pitch. It does not matter where you are playing as Bumrah has the skill to take external factors out of equation.
4. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Current position: The Sunrisers face a massive task. They just have 2 points from 7 matches and are placed 8th on the table. But in another way, it is a non-complicated situation, they need to win all the remaining matches or at least six of them to be in the race for play-offs.
Key batsman: David Warner: The Aussie will have to find his range from the word go if Sunrisers stand any chance to progress to the next phase.
Key bowler: Rashid Khan: The leg-spinner supreme is coming off from massive turmoil back home in Afghanistan. He needs to channelise that frustration in right direction to help his team out of his marshy place and reach IPL 2021 play-offs.