4 matches, 4 losses. That has been the shocking story of the IPL 2022 campaigns of both Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, the two powerhouses of the IPL who have won a combined 9 IPL titles out of 14.
Now, though, both stand on the verge of being eliminated from the playoff race early in the 10-team tournament and are languishing at the bottom of the points table.
Making through to the top four from this position for any one of them will be nothing less than a miracle. Although both teams have made some stunning comebacks in the past, this one seems out of reach because of the number of teams this time.
There are now 10 league matches to go for both teams. And with 10 teams now – instead of 8 – their chances of making the playoffs have decreased much than it would have been in an 8-team tournament.
For reference, during the 2011 IPL, the last time when the IPL saw 10 teams compete playing 14 matches each, the team that qualified for the playoffs at the fourth position had 16 points, while the one with 14 points missed the top four.
In the 8-team IPLs in the past seasons, a team with 14 points had made it into the playoffs. However, it’s unlikely to be the scenario this time – as, going by the 2011 points table, a team would need 16 points to finish at number 4.
This means that CSK and MI would need to pull off an incredible miracle to win 8 matches out of their remaining 10 games. And going by how they have fared so far, this task seems improbable, and you wouldn’t want to bet more than a dollar on their playoff qualification.
However, there are reasons for Mumbai Indians fans to remain optimistic and hopeful as their team has, more than just once, beaten high odds: in three seasons previously – 2008, 2014, 2015 – they have lost their first four matches of a season, and twice – 2014 and 2015- they have gone into the playoffs and in 2015 even won the title.
Now only that, while CSK have been completely outplayed in all their four losses so far, and also are missing a couple of pacers to injury, Rohit Sharma’s team has put up a fight and remained alive for about three-fourths in each of the games and they also have a full squad – barring Jofra Archer – to choose from.
As unlikely as CSK and MI’s playoff qualification seems at the moment, other teams will remain wary of those two can do once they get on a winning streak.