Mumbai Indians well-placed to keep up amazing IPL trend

After one of the closest league phases in the IPL’s history, the knockout stage got underway with the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians facing off in the first qualifier.

The winner would advance straight to the final, while the loser would get a second bite at the cherry, when facing the victor of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s tussle with the Rajasthan Royals.

Having come through the league phase on top of the pile, it was MS Dhoni’s star-laden CSK side that were favoured to advance to the showpiece match, but an in-form Mumbai outfit were able to prevail and keep a very strong recent trend alive.

Not since the opening edition of the IPL in 2008 has the league’s first-placed side gone on to win the trophy.

Since then one third-placed team, one fourth-placed team and four runners up have all become IPL champions and for the Mumbai Indians, who finished second this time around, the consistent success of the silver medallists is very encouraging.

Teams to finish second in the IPL group phase have won all of the last four tournaments, stretching back to 2011.

Having seen off the best team in the competition’s history already, the Ricky Ponting-coached side were already deserved favourites at a price of 11/10, but with the knowledge of that trend it seems like Mumbai may even be overpriced.

Throw the side’s form into the mix and it becomes even harder to oppose Sachin Tendulkar’s former franchise.

Since their fifth game of the tournament, Mumbai have now won 11 of their last 13 and have a couple of players in supreme form.

Kieron Pollard is starting to make his presence felt with both bat and ball, while fellow West Indian Lendl Simmons has been a consistent performer throughout his IPL career:

Chennai remain the second favourites for the title despite the loss, at 11/5, with the 7/2-rated Challengers and 9/1-outsiders Rajasthan trailing them home in the betting.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.