Indian Premier League May 21, 2008

The race for the semi-finals

Cricinfo staff


Smile, we're still in it: Kolkata Knight Riders have an outside chance of making it to the semi-finals © AFP
 

Wednesday's results may have caused heartbreak for the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, but the fans of the Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils won't be complaining. View points table

Kolkata, currently on 10, must win both their remaining games to stand a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. If they lose either to Delhi on Thursday or to Kings XI Punjab (on May 25), they're out of the race. Even if they win both, either Mumbai or Chennai need to be stuck on 14 points as well for Kolkata to have a chance to go through on net run-rate.

Delhi don't necessarily have to win both their games but their chances of making the last four will diminish drastically if they don't. Two wins, against Kolkata and Mumbai, would place them on 16 points, and even if Mumbai prevail over Rajasthan Royals and Bangalore Royal Challengers, it will come down to net run-rate. On the other hand, defeats for Chennai and Mumbai in their remaining games will ease Delhi's entry into the semi-finals. In such a case, even one win for Delhi will suffice.

If Delhi win two out of two, Mumbai must win at least two of their three, or win one and hope that Chennai lose their final two games, against Rajasthan and the bottom-placed Deccan Chargers. If they win all three matches - against Delhi, Rajasthan and Bangalore, Mumbai won't have to bother about the other results.

Chennai's task has got much harder after their loss to Bangalore. If Delhi lose all their games, they can afford to go through without winning another. In case Delhi and Mumbai win one and Chennai don't, it will still be down to net run-rate. If Delhi win both games, Chennai must win one of their remaining two. Dhoni and Co can make matters easier by winning both, but their next match is against Rajasthan, the strongest side, and it may come down to the clash against Deccan for them to ensure their spot.

Punjab are almost through but they can't afford to relax yet. If they lose all three remaining games, there is a chance that four teams could end up on 16 points apiece and Punjab may then lose out on net run-rate. They would like to believe they've done enough but one more win - against Deccan, Kolkata or Rajasthan - would seal their berth.

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