IPL 2021: How can Mumbai Indians qualify? Table, fixtures and permutations

League phase reaching crunch time with some top sides set to miss out on finals places

Mumbai Indians players celebrates the wicket of KL Rahul of Punjab Kings at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on September 28, 2021. Sportzpics for IPL
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There is one week to go until the top two sides meet in the first playoff game in the 2021 Indian Premier League, which will decide the first side through to the October 15 final.

Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals are the only sides guaranteed a place in the knockout stage so far.

Here are the permutations to consider if Mumbai Indians are going to stand a chance of retaining their title, and to decide which of the other sides will be going home early.

Points table (October 3, 2021)

(Position; team; played; won; lost; net run rate; points)

  1. Chennai Super Kings 12 9 3 +0.829 18
  2. Delhi Capitals 12 9 3 +0.551 18
  3. Royal Challengers Bangalore 11 7 4 -0.200 14
  4. Kolkata Knight Riders 12 5 7 +0.302 10
  5. Punjab Kings 12 5 7 -0.236 10
  6. Rajasthan Royals 12 5 7 -0.337 10
  7. Mumbai Indians 12 5 7 -0.453 10
  8. Sunrisers Hyderabad 11 2 9 -0.490 4

Permutations by team

Chennai Super Kings

Remaining fixtures

Mon Oct 4, v Delhi, Dubai

Thu Oct 7, v Punjab, Dubai

What they need to do

After an off year last season in the UAE – the lone season in history when they failed to make the playoffs – they are straight back on the horse this time, as the first side to earn qualification.

Given the health of their net run rate, a win against either Delhi or Punjab would all but guarantee a place in the qualifier-final on Sunday, October 10. Two wins would make a top-two finish certain.

Delhi Capitals

Remaining fixtures

Mon Oct 4, v Chennai, Dubai

Fri Oct 8, v Bangalore, Dubai

What they need to do

Winning each of their remaining games would guarantee a place in Sunday’s qualifier – meaning two shots, if required, at a place in the final.

If they were to beat Chennai and lose to Bangalore, the latter would have a chance of matching their points total of 20 by winning all three of their remaining matches.

But Delhi’s run rate far exceeds that of Bangalore, so they appear well placed to play a qualifier against Chennai.

Two losses would mean Bangalore could potentially beat them to a place in the qualifier - but at least an eliminator place is already guaranteed.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Remaining fixtures

Sun Oct 3, v Punjab, Sharjah

Wed Oct 6, v Hyderabad, Abu Dhabi

Fri Oct 8, v Delhi, Dubai

What they need to do

Virat Kohli’s side could still force their way into the top two, and earn a place in the qualifier, if they win all three fixtures in dominant fashion.

However, a place in the first eliminator final appears the more likely option – although it remains just about possible they could miss out entirely.

They have a four-point cushion on the four sides below them – each of whom have two matches still to play.

Of those sides, only Kolkata – in fourth – have a superior run rate to Bangalore, so Kohli’s men are still enviably placed.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Remaining fixtures

Sun Oct 3, v Hyderabad, Dubai

Thu Oct 7, v Rajasthan, Sharjah

What they need to do

Kolkata are the only side in the league – other than the top two – to have a positive net run-rate.

As such, it is highly improbable they would be denied an eliminator place if they were to win both their remaining matches.

That would even be enough to leapfrog Bangalore into third, if Virat Kohli’s side were to lose all their three remaining games.

Lose out to either Hyderabad or Rajasthan, and Kolkata would be lucky if they were not beaten to fourth place by any of the three sides below them.

Losing both games would see them eliminated.

Punjab Kings

Remaining fixtures

Sun Oct 3, v Bangalore, Sharjah

Thu Oct 7, v Chennai, Dubai

What they need to do

KL Rahul’s side face a daunting task. In all likelihood, they will need to win both their remaining matches, against table-topping CSK and a Bangalore side who are still fighting for their own progress.

If they do win both, they will have to hope Kolkata do not do similar. It is mathematically possible they could turn around the substantial run rate difference, but not realistic.

If Punjab win two, Kolkata win one, and Rajasthan and Mumbai win two, it would be down to run rate as to who takes fourth place. Currently, Punjab’s is superior.

Rajasthan Royals

Remaining fixtures

Tue Oct 5, v Mumbai, Sharjah

Thu Oct 7, v Kolkata, Sharjah

What they have to do

Rajasthan arrested a run of three defeats in spectacular fashion when they beat Chennai in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night, and thus breathed life into their playoff hopes.

Now they face another game which is as good as a final, when they play Mumbai in Sharjah on Tuesday.

Defeat for either would be as good as a knockout blow – even if they might still mathematically be alive to fight for fourth place.

In all likelihood, Rajasthan need to win both their remaining games – which would put them above Kolkata - then hope Punjab do not do similar.

Mumbai Indians

Remaining fixtures

Tue Oct 5, v Rajasthan, Sharjah

Fri Oct 8, v Hyderabad, Abu Dhabi

What they have to do

Mumbai’s title defence has shuddered to a halt since the tournament decamped to UAE. They have lost four of five matches since the season resumed, leaving them perilously close to an early exit.

If they beat both Rajasthan and Hyderabad that could be enough for fourth, but they would be reliant on each of Kolkata and Punjab losing one of their two remaining matches.

If either – or both – those sides win each of their remaining games, Mumbai are realistically out.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Remaining fixtures

Sun Oct 3, v Kolkata, Dubai

Wed Oct 6, v Bangalore, Abu Dhabi

Fri Oct 8, v Mumbai

What they have to do

Hyderabad must be fed up they are still here, seeing as they are long been unable to qualify.

With three matches still to play in the final week though, all against sides who are pursuing a place in the top four, they could still have a say in who advances.

Updated: October 03, 2021, 9:11 AM