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Sunday’s results, with wins for Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, has put the pressure right back on Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings. For Super Kings especially, there’s little breathing room since they’ve played a match more than Royal Challengers.
The best-case scenario for Super Kings is two wins and 19 points, and if they get there they’ll almost certainly find a place in the last four. There’s still a possibility, though, of three teams – Delhi Daredevils, Royal Challengers and Mumbai Indians – finishing with more than 19 points, and Kolkata Knight Riders and Super Kings being tied on 19, in which case net run rates will come into play.
However, if Super Kings lose to the Knight Riders, the best they can finish with is 17 points, in which case they’ll need several results to go their way to make the cut. Their best-case scenario will then be that Mumbai Indians lose all their matches so they stay on 16, and Royals and Kings XI win no more than one match, so that they don’t move beyond 16. Alternatively, if Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers, the Super Kings will want Royal Challengers to win no more than one game, so that they stay on 17, which will bring net run rates into play.
If Super Kings finish on 17 and other results don’t go their way, then as many as six teams could go past them. Super Kings are also the first team to finish their league games – they play their last match on Thursday – which means they’ll have plenty of time to sit back and consider the impact of each result on their fortunes.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on TwitterFeeds: S Rajesh
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Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.