The second leg of Indian Premier League 2021 (IPL) is all set to start in UAE on September 19. The league had to be halted midway due to COVID-19 cases among players and staff. Now, the remaining matches of all the eight IPL teams will be played across three venues in UAE. Chennai Super Kings will be playing against defending champions Mumbai Indians on Monday in the opening match of the UAE leg. Currently, Delhi Capitals are holding the number one spot while Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are at the number eight spot on the points table.
Delhi Capitals (DC), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Mumbai Indian (MI), and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have performed brilliantly in the first leg of IPL. Rajasthan Royals (RR), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Punjab Kings (PBKS) have to perform their best in the remaining matches to enter the knockouts. RR and KKR have failed to make it to the playoffs in the last two IPL seasons, while PBKS last made it in the year 2014.
With just two days left for the second leg of IPL to commence, here are the current standings of RR, KKR and PBKS and the minimum they have to do to make it to the playoffs. Several scenarios have also changed ahead of the UAE leg of IPL 2021.
RR: Currently, RR is at the fifth position in the points table after winning three out of seven matches in the first leg. They have to win a minimum of 4 games in the remaining seven matches. It seems that the Sanju Samson-led side will find it difficult to win the remaining matches as Fast bowler Jofra Archer will not play for the team due to injury while Jos Buttler has withdrawn his name from the IPL. The team will have to play without its main all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is currently on an indefinite break due to mental health issues.
RR have added New Zealand player Glenn Phillips and South African left-arm wrist spinner Tabrez Shamsi, the number one bowler in the T20 rankings. Explosive batsman Evin Lewis, who scored the most runs in CPL 2021, has also become a part of Rajasthan.
PBKS: Currently, PBKS is on the sixth spot in the IPL points table after winning three of their eight games. Now, they have to win a minimum of 5 matches to be in the top four.
PBKS captain KL Rahul has scored 331 runs in the first leg with the help of four half-centuries. However, except for Rahul, Punjab’s batting seems to be very weak. Mayank Agarwal has scored runs but there is no consistency in his performance. Explosive T20 batsman Chris Gayle hasn’t lived up to expectations. The Punjab team has also suffered a setback due to the exclusion of David Malan.
The bowling department of Punjab will be facing problems as Australian fast bowlers Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith have declared themselves unavailable for the second half of IPL.
Punjab has added Australian fast bowler Nathan Ellis to the team, who has taken a hat-trick in the debut T20 match. The team has added South African opener Aiden Markram.
KKR: In the first leg of IPL 2021, the Kolkata team lost five of seven matches while winning only two. Currently, the team is in the seventh position and have to win five of the remaining seven matches to ensure a top-four spot. After losing a couple of matches, Dinesh Karthik was replaced by Eoin Morgan as the captain of the team, but that didn’t bring much change to the results.
KKR’s most expensive player Pat Cummins has also withdrawn his name from IPL due to personal reasons. Two-time IPL champions KKR have added New Zealand pacer Tim Southee.
It is a matter of relief for KKR that Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have performed very well in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The team will have high hopes from Varun Chakraborty, who has been selected in the Indian team for the ICC T20 World Cup. Chakraborty took 17 wickets in 15 matches in the IPL held in UAE last year.