IPL 2014 May 21, 2014

KKR, Royals favourites in five-team race

IPL scenarios - Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals are all but into the last four, along with Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings

Sunrisers Hyderabad's win against Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 20 made one thing clear: teams with at least 16 points (Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab) are assured of a playoff spot. Super Kings' loss to Kolkata Knight Riders later that day, however, raised the bar for qualification to at least 14 points. In fact, with only nine games to go, there's still a possibility of five teams being tied on 14 points at the end of the league stage, fighting for two spots. ( Click here for the points table.)

Delhi Daredevils are the only team definitely out of the tournament, and of the remaining nine league games, only their match against Kings XI will have no impact on who makes the top four. Here's what five teams need to do to give themselves the best chance of securing the two available playoff spots.

Rajasthan Royals (14 points, to play away games v Kings XI, Mumbai)
Had Royals won their previous match against Mumbai Indians, they would have made the playoffs with 16 points. However, without Ajinkya Rahane, Pravin Tambe and Steven Smith, Royals lost by 25 runs and must now win at least one of their remaining two matches. Defeat against Kings XI and Mumbai will leave them dependent on the results of matches not involving them.

Kolkata Knight Riders (14 points, to play home games v RCB, Sunrisers)
Knight Riders, on a five-match winning streak, are favourites to qualify for the playoffs. They need to win only one of their remaining two games and will enjoy home advantage at Eden Gardens. If they lose both games, however, Knight Riders will be dependent on net run rate if Royal Challengers, Sunrisers or Mumbai make it to 14 points.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (10 points, to play KKR away and CSK at home)
Royal Challengers have to win their last two games to make it to 14 points and also need either Royals or Knight Riders (or both) to lose their remaining matches. A huge win at Eden Gardens is vital because such a result will erode Knight Riders' net run rate, while improving Royal Challengers'. If Royals and Knight Riders manage to win one game each, Royal Challengers are out.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (10 points, to play away games v CSK, KKR)
The equation for Sunrisers is similar to that of Royal Challengers, except their net run rate is slightly worse. They play the same opposition as Royal Challengers and would give themselves an outside chance by beating Knight Riders by a large margin.

Mumbai Indians (10 points, to play Daredevils and Royals at home)
Mumbai, like Royal Challengers and Sunrisers, have to win both remaining games to get to 14 points. Their net run rate is better than that of Sunrisers and Royal Challengers and a big win like that against Kings XI will boost their chances. If both Royal Challengers and Sunrisers lose at least one game, and Royals lose to Kings XI, the last league match, Indians v Royals, will be a knockout*.

The race for the top two
If Kings XI win one of their last two games, they will finish either first or second and have two opportunities to qualify for the final. They enjoy a strong net run rate too. Super Kings have to win both their remaining games to be a certainty in the top two. If they do not, they will be dependent on net run rate and other results. Apart from Kings XI and Super Kings, Royals and Knight Riders also have a chance of finishing in the top two.

This article was updated to reflect the changes after Mumbai Indians' win against Kings XI Punjab

*MI and possibly RR will have a NRR target to achieve in that match

Shiva Jayaraman is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Parin on May 22, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    KXIP, CSK n KKR will make it up there easily.. 4th position will be a contest between MI & RR which will be the best to witness as it would be last league match which will be a knock out. Also, I would think if RCB had played some smart cricket they would have been in a much better position considering the start they got to their campaign. Considering Delhi not to spoil MI's party!

  • vas on May 22, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    KKR is peaking at the right time. The way they are playing is enough to lift the trophy.

    RCB players are not clicking together. One of AB, Kohli or Gayle has to play match winning innings to have a chance to progress.

    RR should play with players who have performed well so far. Why make so many changes to the winning team?

    SRH openers is the key to their success. If Warner or Dhawan doesn't perform they will struggle. Ranchi is good for their bowlers.

    Simmons' addition has done wonders to MI's fortunes. Anything can happen, keep your fingers crossed.

    When it comes to play offs CSK shift their gears. Before that they should make sure of a top two spot.

    KXIP played with inexperienced bowlers in the last match. Mitch should play all their games from now on to keep the momentum going.

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    KKR is a surity.... they have simply outclassed teams like CSK, SRH in recent games.They are on a high. RCB has been shamefully pathetic. A team of dat batting prowess will fail to make final 4 - it's a shame. KingsXI, CSK, KKR and RR will got thru to top 4, though I will like to see MI ousted RR and get in.... and I still believe KKR will grab the 3rd spot if not the 2nd

  • Vikram on May 22, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    meh... RR and KKR will make it. why build up a buzz around non-consequential matches?

  • Shaik Ali on May 22, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    If RCB & SRH beat KKR badly and knock them out of the tournament, then it will be KXI, CSK for sure 2 spots and RR, RCB, SRH & MI will be left...If KXI n MI beat RR badly, they are out of 4...RCB, SRH & MI will be left for the 3rd and 4th slot...for MI it would be easy coz they have to beat only Delhi to claim a spot where as SRH & RCB whoever beats CSK will be claiming that 4th spot...I wish Punjab, Chennai, Mumbai & RCB/SRH go for the top 4

  • Android on May 21, 2014, 18:35 GMT

    This time CSK s disappointing me as it hasnt checked its whole ability. In other seasons, it would hv checked its whole ability and showed promise. Now its late. They hv to win al upcoming matches...

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    No Idea why RR gambled in the last game. Dravid think tank is being too much optimistic. They had to assure their position in the playoffs first and then only look for experimentation. Hopefully, there is not twist in the tail though I want RCB to qualify so badly!!

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    want RCB to be in the top 4.... they have a wonderful team and surely will play out of their skins to reach there

  • Karan on May 21, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    KKR do have a chance of making the top 2 but even top 4 is good considering it look an unlikely after losing 4 in a row.

    Not sure what RR were doing in that last game by making so many changes...

  • vas on May 21, 2014, 10:20 GMT

    CSK should give chance to Aparajith when Mac leaves. Manhas hardly contributed so far and will not be missed. Last two losses would've hurt them badly and they will come back fighting to secure top two spot. All the remaining matches in the tournament are important in deciding the top 4 except KXIP v DD. Not bad considering how poorly some teams performed in the early stages and looked out of the competition. They all picked themselves up nicely and are fighting hard. Well done. For DD there is always next time.

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