IPL 2023: Mumbai Indians on shaky ground in play-off race
Defending champions Gujarat Titans are the only franchise to have booked one of the four play-off places, with the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad now out of contention
Mumbai Indians’ Rohit Sharma (C) greets Lucknow Super Giant’ players after their win in the IPL cricket match at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on May 16, 2023. (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
The IPL is hotting up with seven teams still in the hunt for play-off spots after five-time champions Mumbai Indians suffered a shock loss to Lucknow.
Defending champions Gujarat Titans are the only franchise to have booked one of the four play-off places, with the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad now out of contention.
Mumbai’s five-run loss on Tuesday (16) at the hands of Marcus Stoinis and Mohsin Khan left them needing to win their remaining group 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 May 28 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 group game.
Four-time winners Chennai Super Kings, led by M S Dhoni, who is believed to be playing his final season, looked like sailing into the next round but a shock defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders kept them waiting.
They need to win their final match against the Delhi Capitals on Saturday to make the play-offs and possibly seal a top-two finish, but a loss will leave them at the mercy of other results.
Other teams in contention include Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by Faf du Plessis, as well as the Rajasthan Royals, the Punjab Kings and Kolkata.