There are as many as four, possibly five teams in the mix for the final playoff spots with each having four games or less left to play.
It is that time of the year when the IPL table starts taking a definitive shape. 44 matches have been played thus far, taking Kolkata Knight Rider’s win against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday (May 12) into consideration, and at the end of it we have the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils at the two ends of the table and as many as four teams or possibly five teams in the mix for a top-four finish in the group stage.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, Points: 18, NRR: +0.473, Current Place: 1st (QUALIFIED)
SRH were the first team through to the playoffs. Having picked up 18 points in 12 matches it is mathematically impossible for any of the teams outside the to four to catch up with them. Even if they lose all of their upcoming matches, SRH will advance to the knockout stages.
Chennai Super Kings, Points: 14, NRR: +0.370, Current Place: 2nd (QUALIFIED)
CSK joined SRH in the playoffs after beating them at home and then Rajasthan Royals doing them a favour by beating Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are making their comeback this season. The MS Dhoni-led side have qualified for the playoffs after reaching 16 points from 12 games. They are currently placed second in the points table.
Kings XI Punjab, Points: 12, NRR: -0.056, Current Place: 3rd
Kings XI Punjab limited some damage by keeping their margin of defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders down to 31 runs after conceding 245 in the latter’s innings. They remain third courtesy their net run rate. Their next three matches are against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. A win could be enough to see them through to the knockout stages but two wins would make things more comfortable for the R Ashwin-led side. A defeat in either of their upcoming matches could delay their fate only on the final day of the group stage matches. How things change with two straight defeats despite winning five in a row!
Kolkata Knight Riders, Points: 12, NRR: -0.189, Current Place: 4th
A big win over Kings XI Punjab would have helped them reach third but they did end up giving away 214 runs while defending 245. This means that they are fourth and, unlike the rest of their rivals for the playoffs spot, they have just two games remaining. They need to win both and keep a good net run rate to ensure that Rajasthan Royals don’t catch up with them. While Mumbai’s trajectory are out of their control, KKR can do something about RR in their next match.
Rajasthan Royals, Points: 12, NRR: -0.347, Current place: 5th
Rajasthan Royals have 12 points from 12 matches and need just one more win to all but qualify for the playoffs. But if they win both their remaining games, they will certainly be through to the playoffs. A win in the next game against Kolkata Knight Riders will seal the deal for them. Their win over Mumbai Indians on Sunday (May 13) helped their chances while significantly hurting the defending champions.
Mumbai Indians, Points: 10, NRR: +0.405, Current place: 6th
The defending champions are finding it difficult to win games this season. After 12 games, they have 10 points and need to win both their remaining matches to qualify for the IPL Playoffs while also hoping that one of their rivals slips up. MI’s loss against RR at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday made things tougher for Rohit Sharma’s side and their quest to go deep into the tournament looks bleak. Two teams out of KXIP, KKR and RR need to lose both their games. KXIP have three remaining so have to lose two to help Mumbai Indians qualify.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, Points: 8, NRR: -0,261, Current place: 7th
Royal Challengers Bangalore, or rather AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, showed what they are capable of when all is good for them when they blew away Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Unfortunately for them, all has been good for them only too rarely this season. Virat Kohli may say that they need to win all the matches they play from here on but the reality is that they also need a favourable set of results from a number of other matches between teams above them to reach the playoffs. Despite being mathematically in the hunt, it would be a miracle if RCB go through.
Delhi Daredevils, Points: 6, NRR: -0.478, Current place: 8th
Delhi Daredevils are out of the competition. They are bottom of the table after playing 12 matches with six points to show for it. It is thus mathematically impossible now for them to reach the top four. If there is any positive for them this season, it is that they may have discovered who may go on to form the core of the team in later years. Rishabh Pant has been destroying averages of bowlers from almost every team while Prithvi Shaw has also shown signs of his much-heralded potential. Shreyas Iyer was handed the captaincy after Gautam Gambhir stepped down.