The IPL is hotting up with seven teams still in the hunt for playoff spots after five-time champions the Mumbai Indians suffered a shock loss to the Lucknow Super Giants.
Defending champions the Gujarat Titans are the only franchise to have booked one of the four playoff places, with the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad now out of contention.
Mumbai’s five-run loss on Tuesday at the hands of Marcus Stoinis and Mohsin Khan left them needing to win their remaining league fixture against Hyderabad, and they still need other results to go their way.
“We didn’t play well enough to win. There were moments we didn’t win. Unfortunate but we need to keep our heads high,” Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma said after the defeat.
Rohit, who led Mumbai to titles in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020, said: “We have to come out and win that game [against Hyderabad on Sunday].”
The top two teams will play the first qualifier, with the winner heading straight to the final in Ahmedabad on 28 May and the loser playing the winner of the “eliminator” between teams three and four in the second qualifier.
Lucknow, who made their IPL debut alongside Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat last year, have had a hot-and-cold season but a better run rate than Mumbai has kept them in contention for the top four even if they lose their final league game.
Four-time winners Chennai Super Kings, led by MS Dhoni – who is believed to be playing his final season – looked like sailing into the next round but a shock defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders kept them waiting.
They need to win their final match against the Delhi Capitals on Saturday to make the playoffs and possibly seal a top-two finish, but a loss will leave them at the mercy of other results.
Other teams in contention include the Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by Faf du Plessis, as well as the Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.
© Agence France-Presse