Indian Premier League 2009 May 15, 2009

The race for the semi-finals

Cricinfo looks at where the teams stand and what they need to do to qualify for the semi-finals

As the second season of the IPL enters its final stages, Cricinfo looks at where the teams stand and what they need to do to qualify for the semi-finals. Delhi Daredevils appear certain to make it, but there are six teams fighting for the other three spots.

Team: Delhi Daredevils

Points/ Net run-rate: 16/ +0.362

Matches remaining: 4

Opponents: Punjab, Rajasthan, Bangalore, Mumbai

Barring a drastic change in form for the worse, Delhi are all but in the semi-finals. They are No. 1, four points clear of the team in fourth place, with a match in hand over four teams and two games in hand over the others. Even if they lose all their remaining games - an improbable event considering three are against opponents in the bottom half of the league - Delhi will still be in the running for a semi-final spot. Only if several permutations and combinations fall into place will Delhi be knocked out. A victory in any of the games will seal their spot.

Team: Chennai Super Kings

Points/ Net run-rate: 13/ +1.070

Matches remaining: 3

Opponents: Mumbai, Kolkata, Punjab

Chennai looked set to steam into the semi-finals, having won five games in a row, before their winning streak ended unexpectedly against Bangalore. The close defeat has left Chennai vulnerable but they have a game in hand over three other semi-final contenders. Their next match is against Mumbai, who also have a chance of making the semi-finals, and a defeat will leave Chennai needing to win their last two games in order to make it comfortably.

Team: Rajasthan Royals

Points/ Net run-rate: 13/ -0.329

Matches remaining: 2

Opponents: Delhi, Kolkata

Their campaign hasn't been as strong as that of last season, but Rajasthan are still in the running for a berth in the semi-finals. The simplest route for them would be to win both their remaining matches in order to avoid depending too much on results of other games and the net run-rate, which is quite poor at the moment. However, one of their matches is against Delhi and should they lose, they will need to beat Kolkata convincingly and hope other results go their way.

Team: Deccan Chargers

Points/ Net run-rate: 12/ +0.292

Matches remaining: 3

Opponents: Kolkata, Punjab, Bangalore

Had Deccan not collapsed so dramatically against Delhi, their chances of making the semi-finals would have been much stronger than they are at present. Deccan are clinging on to one of the top four spots at the moment and need to win at least two of their last three games. However, the fact that two of their games are against the bottom-most teams gives them a better chance of qualifying. Besides, they have a game in hand over Rajasthan, Bangalore and Mumbai as well.

Team: Royal Challengers Bangalore

Points/ Net run-rate: 12/ +0.292

Matches remaining: 2

Opponents: Delhi, Deccan

Bangalore kept their semi-final hopes alive by pulling off an upset victory against Chennai. However, they have only two games to play and need to win both, against Delhi and Deccan, to have a chance.

Team: Mumbai Indians

Points/ Net run-rate: 11/ +0.483

Matches remaining: 2

Opponents: Chennai, Delhi

The match against Rajasthan Royals was Mumbai's big chance of making a strong push for the semi-finals. They blew it, though, and are now faced with the tough task of winning their last two games in order to qualify while keeping an eye on net run-rate. What makes it harder is that Mumbai's final games are against Chennai and Delhi, the top two teams at present.

Team: Kings XI Punjab

Points/ Net run-rate: 10/ -0.570

Matches remaining: 3

Opponents: Delhi, Deccan, Chennai

The probability of Punjab repeating last season's performance of making the semis is extremely low. They are currently second from the bottom in the league and even if they win all three of their remaining games they will only be level with Delhi on points, provided the tournament leaders lose all of their last four matches. However, the likelihood of Punjab winning all three games, which are against teams in the top four, is low. A defeat against Delhi today will virtually knock them out.

Team: Kolkata Knight Riders

Points/ Net run-rate: 3/ -1.042

Matches remaining: 3

Opponents: Deccan, Chennai, Rajasthan

Kolkata were the first team to drop out of contention for the semi-finals and they've had a horrible season, with only one win from 11 matches. They are definitely going home but have the opportunity to take a few teams down with them. Their last three matches are of immense importance to their opponents who are all in the running for the semi-finals.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo