The last spot is being hotly contested by the Kolkata Knight Riders and five-time champions Mumbai Indians, both on 10 points, and the Punjab Kings and the Rajasthan Royals, with eight points each.
The Indian Premier League is approaching the business end after it resumed in the United Arab Emirates following an abrupt stoppage due to the second Covid-19 wave in India earlier this year. The Chennai Super Kings have already secured their spot in the playoffs with a win over the beleaguered Sunrisers Hyderabad, already knocked out of the competition, on Thursday, leaving six teams to fight it out for the remaining four spots.
The Delhi Capitals are well-positioned to reach the playoffs, closely followed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The last spot is being hotly contested by the Kolkata Knight Riders and five-time champions Mumbai Indians, both on 10 points, and the Punjab Kings and the Rajasthan Royals, with eight points each.
The fight for playoff positions apart, the IPL is always in the news off the field as well. Here’s what making waves in the richest cricket league in the world today:
Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni brushed off the ring rust to lead his side into the playoffs for the 11th season. Dhoni smashes the winning runs against the Sunrisers Hyderabad with a six, reminiscent of his winning stroke in the ICC Cricket World Cup final against Sri Lanka in 2011. Dhoni’s ‘dhamaka’ shot sparked a frenzy on Twitter as netizens and cricketers alike shared memes and jokes to celebrate the return to form of one of cricket’s greatest finishers.
— Chennai Super Kings – Mask P????du Whistle P????du! (@ChennaiIPL) October 1, 2021
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— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) September 30, 2021
Dhoni and a six to finish. The story isn't over yet…..
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 30, 2021
Former England captain Kevin Pietersen said M.S. Dhoni’s return to match-winning form would be a cause for concern for other title-chasing teams. Speaking to the broadcasters following the Chennai Super Kings’ win against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Pietersen said Dhoni had done it for years. If he starts doing it again now, then CSK already have a hand on the trophy.
Dhoni finishing off with a six… Aaj bhi kuch nahi badla yaar!#SRHvCSK
— Vinod Kambli (@vinodkambli349) September 30, 2021
— Chennai Super Kings – Mask P????du Whistle P????du! (@ChennaiIPL) September 30, 2021
Elaborating on his point, Pietersen said CSK already had Josh Hazlewood and Ravindra Jadeja, their openers contribute runs; now if Dhoni comes and starts finishing games off, then it would be a problem for the others.
Gayle bows out
Punjab Kings power-hitter Chris Gayle has announced his departure from the IPL, citing bubble fatigue and his willingness to stay afresh for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup next month. “I want to refocus on helping the West Indies in the T20 World Cup and would like to take a break in Dubai. My thanks to the Punjab Kings for giving me the time off. My wishes and hopes are with the squad always,” Gayle said.
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) September 30, 2021
Chopra’s KKR connect
Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra believes the Kolkata Knight Riders will clinch the final playoff spot ahead of the Mumbai Indians. Both teams are on 10 points from 11 games, but Chopra, who played two seasons for the Knight Riders, strongly feels that Eoin Morgan’s side will qualify.
In 2020 I predicted that #CSK will qualify. They didn’t. Nobody told me how rubbish my analysis was.
This year I predicted they won’t qualify. They did. Fan-Army’s telling me that how I should’ve known better.
Wrong predictions on both occasions should invite same reactions, no?
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) October 1, 2021
Chopra said in his YouTube video: “I have a strong feeling that if Kolkata doesn’t hit a self-goal, they’ll make it. If Russell is fit then there will be no self-goal but it can happen here because the captain is in zero form.”
“However, it’s Eoin Morgan, a big player, so it’s also possible that he might turnaround his form and give a strong finish.”
Sehwag spills secrets
Former India batter Virender Sehwag recalled how M.S. Dhoni ‘scolded’ spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for an animated gesture to Glenn Maxwell during a Chennai Super Kings’ IPL match against the Kings XI Punjab (Punjab Kings). Sehwag said Ashwin picked up some pitch-side dirt and blew it towards the dressing room after taking Maxwell’s wicket. Sehwag was at the other end during that time.
Sehwag’s comments come after Ashwin found himself in the middle of another controversy following an on-field altercation with Kolkata Knight Riders’ Eoin Morgan and Tim Southee.
Give your heart and soul on the field and play within the rules of the game and shake your hands once the game is over.
The above is the only ‘spirit of the game’ I understand.
— Mask up and take your vaccine???????????????? (@ashwinravi99) September 30, 2021
The former opener also blamed KKR’s Dinesh Karthik for not playing down the incident, calling him the “biggest culprit”.