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Mumbai Indians: From Underdogs to Playoffs?

Sumant Mandal
3 weeks ago

Mumbai Indians: From Underdogs to Playoffs? The mighty Mumbai Indians (MI), five-time IPL champions, have stumbled out of the gates in 2024. Their loss to LSG left them with a measly six points from ten matches. But wait! Before you write them off, here’s why they might still pull off a historic comeback, just like their epic turnarounds in 2014 and 2015.

Can Mumbai Indians bypass the NRR hurdle?

Here’s the exciting twist: MI can actually reach the playoffs without relying solely on a good Net Run Rate (NRR)! How? Let’s dive into a strategic game of musical chairs.

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Imagine a scenario where at least two top teams dominate, leaving a fierce battle for the remaining spots. Ideally, Rajasthan Royals (RR) would win most of their games, securing a top-two position. Additionally, one team from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), or Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) needs to become the other top contender.

Here’s a possible sequence of events: RR wins four matches and loses to KKR, who then overthrows LSG and Gujarat Titans (GT). This puts RR at 22 points and KKR at 18. Now, the winner of LSG vs SRH has to lose their remaining matches, while the other stays at 12 points (or even lower for SRH).

Sounds complex, right? But the point is, MI needs a domino effect where several teams lose strategically, leaving them with a fighting chance. We can create similar scenarios involving CSK and other lower-ranked teams, with the goal being six teams ending up with 12 points or less.

Let’s see this in action!

Imagine MI wins all their remaining matches. LSG beats SRH, and RR and KKR perform as planned. Now, MI would want LSG to lose all their other games. Additionally, CSK and Punjab Kings (PBKS) need to split their upcoming clash, with CSK losing the rest. PBKS can only manage a maximum of two wins from their remaining matches. If other results involving Delhi Capitals (DC), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), and GT fall in their favor, MI could reach 14 points, potentially tying LSG with NRR deciding the crucial third and fourth spots.

Mumbai Indians Remaining fixtures

  • vs KKR, May 3 (Home)
  • vs SRH, May 6 (Home)
  • vs KKR, May 11 (Away)
  • vs LSG, May 17 (Home

But there’s a catch.

Winning all remaining matches is a tall order. A slightly more achievable option involves winning three matches. However, their NRR needs to be higher than other teams if they end up tied with 12 points. This means their ideal loss would be against SRH or LSG, considering KKR’s strong NRR and upcoming clash with LSG.

Unfortunately, MI’s current NRR of -0.272 isn’t ideal (six other teams have a better one). Improving this significantly will be a challenge.

The bottom line?

While an uphill battle, MI can still make a playoff push. However, much like RCB with their recent wins, they’ll need a combination of strategic victories and favorable results from other matches.

So, what do you think? Can MI pull off this improbable comeback?

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