While Sunday’s first match greeted fans with a nail-biting finish, the second game – Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) versus Mumbai Indians (MI) – juxtaposed it perfectly with an out-and-out domination from one team.
MI restricted Virat Kohli’s men to 165-6, in what looked like a sub-par total at first glance. The bowlers had to work hard for their wickets, with Jasprit Bumrah once again shining with 3/36 followed by Trent Boult’s economical 1/17.
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However, RCB’s bowlers had other plans. Soon after Yuzvendra Chahal broke the fiery 57-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock, the whole lineup started hunting in packs, dominating every batsman that stepped on the crease. Chahal and Glenn Maxwell (2/23) dislodged the top order with help from Mohammed Siraj (1/15) before Harshal Patel (4/17) sealed the deal with a staggering hat-trick that proved to be too good for the MI tail.
A look at the updated IPL 2021 points table
What it means for RCB?
With the win, RCB maintained their third spot in the points table. Much to the relief of their fans, the team now require just two wins from their remaining four games to comfortably qualify for the playoffs. Their net run rate (NRR), which was a vexing cause for worry before this game, has also received a 0.361 point boost.
The team look more balanced with Dan Christian and Kyle Jamieson in the lower order and the sluggish wickets in the UAE are underpinning the styles of Chahal and Patel. Kohli, too, seems to have found his mojo back. But whether this win was just an abberation or the start of something special towards the franchise’s chase for its first IPL title will only be decided when they take on the Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Wednesday.
What it means for MI?
Seeing their five-time champion team in seventh position in the points table should come as a wakeup call for each player in the MI camp. They are now tied with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Punjab Kings (PBKS) for eight points in the table and, like them, need to win all of their remaining four games to get to the 16-point mark.
But RR have played one game less and KKR have shown signs of massive improvement which makes MI’s journey that much more difficult.
MI’s NRR is also badly hit at -0.551 which could be decisive if there’s a tie for fourth spot at the end of the league stage. All they can do now is look inwards, shrug off the unconditional backing of out-of-form players, and breathe some fresh air into the downtrodden lineup. The next few days will arguably be the true test of Rohit Sharma’s captaincy.
Impact on other teams in the points table
The RCB’s commanding win is an omnious sign for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC), who have so far dominated the top-two positions in the points table. On the other hand, KKR, RR and PBKS will be gushing to see MI not pull ahead of them already. Every match, every win, and even every run and wicket counts from now on in IPL 2021.