After a roller-coaster of mid-table battles, close shaves with net run rates (NRR), low-scoring thrillers, a 235-run batting effort and a last-ball winning six, IPL 2021 finally reaches the next stage.
Delhi Capitals (DC), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), in that order, are in the top-four this season. And with the kind of cricket they have played so far, the remainder of IPL 2021 is set to be nothing short of exhilirating.
Mumbai Indians (MI) and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) clashed in one of the two games played on Friday. Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav stepped onto the field with hollow legs and scored jaw-dropping 84 (32) and 82 (40) respectively.
On the backs of that, MI reached the highest score of the season at 235-9, certainly giving KKR fans a major scare. The defending champions defended their total cleanly with 42 runs to spare, but missed out on the 171-run qualifying margin by a long way.
The other game was no less exciting. In a battle of par-scores, DC, having already sealed a top-two spot, were tangibly complacent. They reached 164-5, but some horrendously casual fielding efforts allowed the RCB to get away in the second essay.
KS Bharat once again proved why he deserves to be RCB's no.3 with a remarkable 58-ball 78. His knock included a last-ball six against Avesh Khan when his team required five runs to win. Glenn Maxwell took advantage of dropped catches and supported Bharat well with a 33-ball 51, helping RCB seal a seven-wicket win.
A look at the final IPL 2021 points table
IPL 2021 playoffs schedule
Qualifier 1: DC vs CSK, October 10, Dubai, 7:30 p.m. IST
Eliminator: RCB vs KKR, October 11, Sharjah, 7:30 p.m. IST
Qualifier 2: Loser of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Eliminator, October 13, Sharjah, 7:30 p.m. IST
ALSO READArticle Continues below
Final: Winner of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Qualifier 2, October 15, Dubai, 7:30 p.m. IST