Two unexpected results in two days seem to have tilted the IPL world on its axis. Chennai Super Kings’ loss to Delhi Daredevils, scotched their hopes of comfortably retaining the top-spot on the points table. Then there was the surprise upset of Royal Challengers Bangalore in a rain-affected tie, against Kings XI Punjab, that altered the whole qualification paradigm.
As it stands, following Bangalore’s loss to Punjab, here’s a look at the possible IPL playoff qualification scenarios:
Teams Battling for Playoffs Qualification
#1 Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings have played 13 matches and with 16 points, are currently at the top of the points table. However, they have a good reason to be wary of the Kolkata Knight Riders who are taking on Mumbai Indians on Thursday. Following their shock defeat, the Super Kings are also under threat from Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, who have two matches left to be played each and stand to gain a maximum of 18, 17 and 17 points respectively to wrap up the league matches. A loss in either of the two remaining matches for each of these teams will ensure the Super Kings’ relatively easy pathway to the playoffs.
#2 Kolkata Knight Riders
A lot hinges upon today’s match for Kolkata, as far as their position in the points table is concerned. Gautam Gambhir and his men are on a three match winning streak and against Mumbai Indians, they need an extension of this streak to ensure they go on to lead the table. The Knight Riders also need to win their last league match against Rajasthan Royals to qualify to the playoffs as the top team in the league stages. A loss in either or in both of the Knight Riders’ remaining matches, coupled with the likes of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians doing well in their respective matches could even see the Knight Riders toppled from their position amongst the top-four teams.
#3 Sunrisers Hyderabad
Placed third in the points table, Sunrisers take on Royal Challengers tomorrow in their 13th match. A win would see their chances of qualifying substantiated. A loss would put them on a potentially three-way battle, with Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. The momentum has been in their favour in their past three matches and they would want the same to continue so as to extend their stay in the IPL up until the playoffs.
#4 Rajasthan Royals
With just one match to go, Rajasthan Royals will be closely monitoring the results of the two teams above them, and the three teams placed below them in the points table. Of these, Mumbai is taking on Kolkata later today, at the Wankhede. While a win for the Knight Riders wouldn’t impact the Royals’ chances so much to qualify, a win for Mumbai would put both teams on par on the points tally, with only the NRR separating them. As such, Rajasthan Royals needs each of the three teams placed below it to lose at least one of their two remaining matches for its chances to qualify for the playoffs to solidify.
#5 Royal Challengers Bangalore
Their performance has been erratic, swinging from good wins to bizarre losses – including the one against Kings XI Punjab. The Royal Challengers need to win both their upcoming matches to stay in the fray for playoffs’ qualification. A loss, in either one or both their remaining matches, will severely dent their playoffs qualification chances.
#6 Mumbai Indians
Currently placed sixth in the points table, Mumbai Indians need to win against Kolkata Knight Riders today to continue to make a case for their playoffs qualification. After Rajasthan Royals, they had the longest winning streak in this year’s edition. Following their mauling by the Royal Challengers, this will be their first match and the team needs to rebound back strongly to try and push its playoffs’ qualifying bid.