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The IPL Equation: What teams need to make the playoffs

The following scenarios are updated till the Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday - 13 May.

The race for the IPL-6 playoffs is getting more and more interesting. Only 10 matches remain in the league stage and we still don’t have a single team in the playoffs — with as many as seven teams standing a chance to make the final cut. Only two teams – Pune Warriors India and Delhi Daredevils are out of the competition.

Here is a look at where the teams stand and what they need to do to qualify for the playoffs.

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Mumbai Indians: A miraculous win over Sunrisers Hyderabad has taken Mumbai Indians to top of the table. With 20 points from 14 games, Mumbai Indians are almost sure of a place in the playoffs.

If Royal Challengers Bangalore lose to Kings XI Punjab today, then three spots in the playoffs will be confirmed with Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals through to the playoffs. However, if Royal Challengers Bangalore win today, then Mumbai Indians will have to wait for the playoff spot.

Mumbai are playing their remaining games against Rajasthan Royals at Mumbai and against Kings XI Punjab at Dharamsala. A win in either of these games will definitely put them into the final four.

In all likelihood they will scrape through even if they lose both their remaining games, however their progress will not be as straightforward. There can be a situation where more than four teams tie with 20 points — if Chennai Super Kings beat Delhi Daredevils, but lose to Royal Challengers Bangalore; Rajasthan Royals beat Mumbai Indians, but lose to Sunrisers Hyderabad; Sunrisers Hyderabad beat both Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders; and Royal Challengers Bangalore win both their games against Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings.

In such a scenario, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will end with 22 points, while Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad will finish with 20 points. Net run rate will then come into play. Mumbai Indians have the best net run rate at the moment, but it will definitely come down with two defeats. They will not like to leave anything to chance and settle the issue with a win.

Chennai Super Kings: They have 20 points from 14 games and are currently second on the points table after Mumbai Indians.

If Royal Challengers Bangalore lose to Kings XI Punjab today, then Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will be through to the playoffs irrespective of other results.

However, if Royal Challengers win today, then Chennai Super Kings will have to wait. But they can seal a place in the final four today as they are playing against Delhi Daredevils at home in the 8 PM match. A win in this game will give them a definite place in the playoffs.

BCCI

If RCB beat Kings XI on Tuesday, then both Kings XI and KKR will be out of reckoning for a playoff spot. BCCI

Their last game will be against RCB. If CSK lose both these games, then things will become a bit complicated for them.

There is a possibility of five teams finishing with 20 points. In such a scenario, net run-rate will be the deciding factor. The best scenario for Chennai Super Kings is to beat Delhi Daredevils – who look totally out of depth right now – and book themselves a berth in the last four.

Rajasthan Royals: The win against Chennai has given Rajasthan Royals a very good chance of making it to the playoffs. They are not yet there, but a win in any of their two remaining games will put them through. They can do without that also — if Royal Challengers Bangalore lose to Kings XI Punjab today, then Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will be through to the playoffs irrespective of other results. However, if Bangalore win today, then Rajasthan will have to wait.

Their next assignments are against Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad away from home. While they have not lost a single game at home, Royals’ performance in away games is far from satisfactory with just two wins in six games.

Even if Royals lose both their remaining fixtures, they will get through if RCB lose to Chennai in their last league match or Sunrisers Hyderabad lose one of their remaining two games. Such a scenario will ensure that Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers cannot match Royals on points.

If, however, Royals lose both their games; and Bangalore and Hyderabad win both their games, then Royals will find themselves tied with these two teams with 20 points (with Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians possibly ahead with 22 points). As only two among Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad can go through, net run-rate will come into play.

Royals have a net run rate of +0.506 as against Bangalore’s +0.475. However, two defeats will definitely pull down Royals’ run rate, while Bangalore’s run rate will improve. So Royals may lose out to Royal Challengers Bangalore on this count.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: They are in a very peculiar situation. They can be knocked out of the tournament even after winning the two remaining games. On the other hand, they can get through even after losing both their games!

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s remaining two fixtures are at home - against Kings XI Punjab today and Chennai Super Kings. Wins in both these games will take them to 20 points. But they can’t be sure of a place in playoffs because five teams can still end with 20 points (if Sunrisers also win their two remaining fixtures).

What will give them comfort is the fact that they are well ahead of Sunrisers on the net run-rate, and will only go up with two wins. Sunrisers will need to win their two games with a huge margin to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore on net run-rate.

Royal Challengers Bangalore can still qualify for the playoffs even if they lose their remaining two games. For that to happen, they will need Sunrisers to lose both their games and Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab to lose at least one game. Royal Challengers will scrape through even with 16 points on the basis of better net run-rate in such a scenario.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Had they beaten Mumbai Indians yesterday, Sunrisers would have been in a very strong position to qualify for the playoffs. But this has not happened and their chances of qualifying now depend upon how other results pan out. Even if Sunrisers win their remaining two games, this may not guarantee them a place in the final four. They will finish with 20 points in that case.

Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals have already got 20 points. If Royal Challengers also win their remaining two games, then there will be five teams tied with 20 points.

Sunrisers may lose out as they have the worst net run-rate (-0.117) among the five top teams. Their best chance remains in Royal Challengers Bangalore not winning more than one game. The fact that they will be playing their remaining games at home will give them comfort.

Kolkata Knight Riders: With 12 points in 14 games, Kolkata Knight Riders still have an outside chance to make it to the playoffs. For that to happen, Kings XI Punjab must beat Royal Challengers Bangalore today.

If Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab today, then both Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab will be eliminated.

A defeat for Royal Challengers today will give Kolkata Knight Riders some hope. However, they will have to win both their remaining games against Pune Warriors India and Sunrisers Hyderabad. This will take them to 16 points. Kolkata Knight Riders cannot match Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, as they are sitting pretty with 20 points each.

If Royal Challengers Bangalore lose to Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad lose both their games, then Knight Riders will be a in a three-way tie (or possibly a four-way tie if Kings XI Punjab also win their remaining three games). Net run-rate will then decide the fourth spot, where Knight Riders can scrape through.

Kings XI Punjab: Their situation is very much similar to Kolkata Knight Riders.

If Royal Challengers Bangalore beat them today, then Kings XI Punjab (and also Kolkata Knight Riders) will be eliminated.

A win for Kings XI Punjab today will give them a lifeline. They will, however, need to win their remaining games against Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians and hope Royal Challengers Bangalore lose to Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad lose both their remaining games.

That will leave them tied with 16 points with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad and possibly Kolkata Knight Riders. Net run-rate will come into play, where Kings XI Punjab can pip past the others.

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