Indian Premier League 2009 May 19, 2009

What the semi-final contenders need to do

Cricinfo staff
Delhi are already in the final four but five other teams are jostling for the remaining three slots. Cricinfo takes a look at what they have to do to qualify

Kolkata Knight Riders have been this season's whipping boys but just when you expected only novel ways of losing from them, they pulled off a victory that has left five teams with a chance of securing the three remaining semi-final spots. Delhi Daredevils are already in the final four, Kolkata and Mumbai fell out of contention a while ago, but the other five teams are jostling for positions. Cricinfo takes a look at what they have to do in the last few games of the league phase.

Team: Royal Challengers Bangalore
Points/ Net run-rate: 12/ -0.309
Matches remaining: 2
Opponent: Delhi, Deccan

Today's game against Delhi is of huge importance for Royal Challengers Bangalore. They have two games to play and are currently sixth with 12 points and a negative net run-rate. A win will take them level with Deccan and Punjab. A defeat will not knock them out entirely but it will leave them needing to win their last match against Deccan and hoping that at least one of Punjab or Rajasthan lose their last games. Then it will come down to net run-rates. If Bangalore win both their matches, their semi-final berth is secure.

Team: Rajasthan Royals
Points/ Net run-rate: 13/ -0.360
Matches remaining: 1
Opponent: Kolkata

Rajasthan's qualification for the semi-finals is dependent on other results. The best they can do is to win their last game, against Kolkata, by a large margin to move up to 15 points and improve their negative net run-rate (NRR). If they do win, then they could possibly finish third or fourth in the league. The result of the Chennai-Punjab and Bangalore-Deccan matches will affect Rajasthan's chances - it is possible that Rajasthan might not make it even if they beat Kolkata. If Bangalore win their last two matches and Punjab beat Chennai, Rajasthan will be fighting with Chennai for the last spot. If Deccan beat Bangalore and Punjab beat Chennai, both will be on 16 points and Rajasthan will again be fighting with Chennai for that last spot.

The best scenario for Rajasthan is for them to beat Kolkata and for Chennai to win on Wednesday. That will ensure a place among the top four, along with Delhi, Chennai, and either Bangalore or Deccan. If Punjab beat Chennai, though, it gets more complicated for Rajasthan: they'll have to hope Bangalore lose to Delhi but beat Deccan, so that Bangalore and Deccan are both tied on 14 points and lose out, as Delhi, Punjab, Chennai and Rajasthan will qualify.

Team: Kings XI Punjab
Points/ Net run-rate: 14/ -0.423
Matches remaining: 1
Opponent: Chennai

By the time Punjab play their last game, against Chennai, Bangalore and Rajasthan would have completed their matches against Delhi and Kolkata respectively. Wins for both will have Bangalore on 14 points while Rajasthan will have 15, and the pressure on Punjab, presently on 14 points, to beat Chennai will be immense. Even if Punjab lose, they can still make the cut if Bangalore lose one or both of their matches, leaving at least two teams tied on 14. A net-run-rate scenario won't help Punjab, though, since theirs is lower than Deccan and Bangalore, and defeat will further worsen the NRR. Realistically, they need to beat Chennai to qualify.

Team: Chennai Super Kings
Points/ Net run-rate: 15/ +0.932
Matches remaining: 1
Opponent: Kings XI Punjab

A victory against Kolkata would have sealed Chennai's berth in the semi-finals but they couldn't manage one, making their qualification for the next stage less certain. Chennai, however, are in a better position than most of the other contenders. They are on 15 points, one ahead of Deccan and Punjab and two ahead of Bangalore, and have the best net run-rate as well. However their last game, against Punjab, is of vital importance. A win will take Chennai through. A defeat will push them lower in the table but they would still be likely to qualify third or fourth because of their strong net run-rate.

Team: Deccan Chargers
Points/ Net run-rate: 14/ +0.265
Matches remaining: 1
Opponent: Bangalore

Deccan, presently on 14 points, play Bangalore in the last match of the league phase. The worst case scenario for Deccan would be if Punjab beat Chennai, taking them to 16 points, leaving Chennai on 15; if Rajasthan beat Kolkata to move up to 15; and if Bangalore beat Delhi to move to 14. In that case, Deccan will have to beat Bangalore to secure their semi-final berth. If Deccan lose to Bangalore, they could still make the cut, but they'll need other results to go their way, and their relatively healthy NRR could bail them out.

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