Fifty games into the Indian Premier League 2018, and we have only Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings with a guaranteed playoff spot, with Hyderabad also assured of a top-two finish. However, now the tournament has reached a stage where every game going forward will have an impact on the playoff chances of contenders.
So far, only Delhi Daredevils are out of the race for playoffs, with the other five teams – Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, and Royal Challengers Bangalore – having a chance to qualify for the remaining two spots.
At the end of the 50th game between Mumbai and Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium Wednesday (May 16), the points table carried the following look.
|Chennai Super Kings||12||8||4||16||0.383|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||13||7||6||14||-0.091|
|Kings XI Punjab||13||6||7||12||-0.490|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||12||5||7||10||0.218|
With six games remaining in the league round, here is what lies ahead for each contender in various scenarios.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Remaining match: v Hyderabad (May 19)
A victory against Hyderabad, and Kolkata will finish with 16 points. In that scenario, they will not only qualify for playoffs, they can also be in contention for a top-two finish on the basis of net run-rate provided Chennai lose both their remaining games, against Delhi and Punjab.
If Kolkata lose to Hyderabad, they can still qualify on the basis of points provided Mumbai and Punjab both lose their respective matches. Else, they will have to fight with one or more contenders on the basis of net run-rate.
Remaining match: v Delhi (May 20)
If they win against Delhi, they can sneak through on the basis of points provided Bangalore lose to Hyderabad but beat Rajasthan, and Punjab lose to Chennai, else net run-rate will come into the picture. In that case, Mumbai have an advantage as at this point their net run-rate is the highest among the contenders.
However, in case of a defeat against Delhi, they would have to rely on Bangalore to beat Rajasthan but lose against Hyderabad, along with Punjab losing against Chennai. In that case, four teams – Mumbai, Kolkata, Rajasthan, and Bangalore – will be fighting for the last playoff spot on the basis of net run-rate.
Remaining match: v Bangalore (May 19)
If they emerge victorious against Bangalore, they will be through on the basis of points alone provided Punjab and Mumbai lose their games, else they will have to compete with one or more from Punjab, Mumbai, and Kolkata with net run-rate. Given that their own net run-rate is in negative, that route might not favour them.
A defeat against Bangalore, and they would be praying that Bangalore, Mumbai, and Punjab also lose their respective matches. In this case as well, the four teams will compete on the basis of their net run-rate for a single spot.
Kings XI Punjab
Remaining match: v Chennai (May 20)
If they beat Chennai, they can make it to playoffs on the basis of points provided Bangalore lose against Hyderabad but beat Rajasthan, and Mumbai lose against Delhi. Else they will have to fight out on the basis of net run-rate with one or more teams.
In case they lose to Chennai, they can still qualify on the basis of net run-rate provided Bangalore lose to Hyderabad beat Rajasthan, and Mumbai and Punjab lose their respective games. In that case, there will be a four-way tie between them, Rajasthan, Bangalore, and Mumbai. But the bad news for Punjab is that their net run-rate at the moment is the worst among all the contenders.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Remaining matches: v Hyderabad (May 17), v Rajasthan (May 19)
If they win both their games, they can be through on the basis of points provided Punjab and Mumbai lose their respective games, else they will have to fight out on the basis of net run-rate.
If they lose against Hyderabad but win against Rajasthan, they can qualify on the basis of net run-rate provided given Punjab and Mumbai lose their games. In this case, there will again be a four-way tie.
But if they lose to Rajasthan, they will be out of contention irrespective of the Hyderabad game result.