The Indian Premier League is gradually moving towards its business end. While as many as three teams- Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore- have already guaranteed themselves a berth in the final four, the race for the last playoff berth is getting more and more intense. As many as four teams are in the race for the remaining spot and these are- Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians are contesting.
Winning the matches merely won't be enough for some and they will have to hope for other results to go their way for them to proceed to the knock-out stages.
Check out the Playoff qualification scenarios for these teams here:
Kolkata Knight Riders:
The ball is still pretty much in their own court as far as the Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders are concerned. With 12 points in 13 matches and a match to go, simply a win against Rajasthan Royals would be enough for them to be the fourth team to reach the Playoffs. This is simply because their net run rate is much greater than the other teams contesting for the vacant spot.
However, in case Kolkata fall to a defeat against Rajasthan Royals in their last match, then Rajasthan should have also lost their previous game to Mumbai for Kolkata to be the final team in the Playoffs.
The equation for Punjab to qualify is not that simple. A win in their remaining match against Chennai Super Kings might not be enough for them to seal a berth in the Playoffs. They would need to win big to boost their net run rate big time and that would require a win of 100-120 runs or a run-chase completed inside 10 overs against a team that is top of the table. In addition, Kolkata's defeat to Rajasthan is also a necessary criterion for Punjab to qualify.
For Rajasthan, they have their destiny in their own hands since one of their matches is against Kolkata Knight Riders. If Rajasthan win both their remaining matches against Kolkata and Mumbai, they will automatically qualify for the Playoffs since that would prevent KKR from reaching 12 points.
But a defeat to KKR would mean end of the road for not only them but also for the remaining teams contesting as it would imply that a KKR top-4 finish is almost certain.
Win in their remaining two matches won't be enough for Mumbai Indians to qualify for the business end of the tournament. However, that is the best they can do. Even if they do register wins over Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals, they would have to hope that the Sanju Samson-led side does them a favour and beats Kolkata Knight Riders to prevent them from reaching 14 points. In this way, they can keep alive their dream of completing a hat-trick of titles.
(Stats and Qualification scenarios by Sudharshan Sridharan)