Even before Rajasthan Royals RR (seventh in the points table with three consecutive defeats) took the field on Saturday, they were ruled out as no match for the Chennai Super Kings CSK (table toppers with four consecutive wins). When Sanju Samson announced five changes to the RR playing XI, it was claimed that his team had “thrown in the towel” for the rest of the IPL 2021.
But this incredible tournament is so whirlwind that it took the Men in Pink just three wickets and 17.3 overs to mercilessly shoot down CSK’s 189-4 and tear open the points table again.
CSK batsmen, especially the fantastic centenarian Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja (32 out of 15), made the Abu Dhabi surface look easy on the way to the above average goal. However, they couldn’t have foreseen RR’s all-out attack, which started with the 81-run push from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Evin Lewis into the power play and ended with a century-long knock from Shivam Dube (64 out of 42).
As a result, just when we thought the battle for fourth place couldn’t be any tighter, things have gone completely crazy.
A look at the updated IPL 2021 points table
What does this mean for RR?
With the win, RR defending champion Mumbai Indians (MI) has taken a leap forward and is now in sixth place in the points list. They also did a lot of good on their net run rate (NRR), which increased from -0.468 to -0.337.
RR was in a situation that you have to win before this match and nothing has changed. They will need to win both of their remaining two matches to qualify while continuing to improve the NRR. RR can also qualify with 12 points, but that will require a lot of other results.
Sanju Samson’s men not only have tremendous momentum behind them now, but they also have much-needed faith, which could be decisive at the tournament’s business end. They should support themselves to build on this victory and show the same strength against MI on Tuesday.
What does this mean for CSK?
CSK won’t make too much of a fuss about this defeat, given that they’ve already qualified and are still leading the pack from the top of the table. Their bowling was also a bit meager without DJ Bravo and Deepak Chahar – who were both rested – which proved to be crucial in the high scoring encounter.
However, MS Dhoni and co. will certainly be careful not to lose too much momentum in their effort to manage the workload. After all, their NRR has been hit by this match and they need to win at least one of the remaining two games to finish comfortably in the top two and avoid the Eliminator.
Impact on other teams in the points table
While there are currently four teams – RR, MI, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Punjab Kings (PBKS) – with 10 points tied after 12 matches, the boys from Rohit Sharma will be most affected by today’s result. Their NRR is a terrible -0.453 and RR’s win just made it harder for them.