Things to do to reach the semi-finals
Kolkata Knight Riders' convincing win against Rajasthan Royals has considerably altered the equations for the semi-final slots in IPL 2010. Mumbai Indians are obviously through, while Royal Challengers Bangalore are safe as well despite their comprehensive defeat: their net run-rate (NRR) of 0.219 is too good for them to be pushed out of the top four. Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan are out, but the others all have to wait a little bit longer for their fate to be decided. Here's a look at where teams stand, and how they can progress to the semi-finals.
Delhi Daredevils: If Chennai Super Kings beat Punjab in the first match, then Delhi will face a must-win situation against Deccan Chargers. For, if Delhi lose, Deccan, Chennai and Bangalore will all sail through and join Mumbai. (Chennai's NRR will obviously be better than Delhi's if they win.)
If Chennai lose, though, it'll require a couple of extraordinary results for Delhi to be knocked out: Deccan and Kolkata will need to win their last games by huge margins. For example, if Deccan score 200 and win by 60 runs, and if Kolkata score 200 and win by 75 runs, Kolkata's NRR will inch ahead of Delhi's, in which case Mumbai, Bangalore, Deccan and Kolkata will make the cut. That seems pretty unlikely, so the big game for Delhi will be the one between Chennai and Punjab.
Deccan Chargers: Deccan's NRR of -0.363 is their biggest worry, and the reason they can't relax even though they have 14 points. A win will obviously take them through, but if they lose they'll need the results in the other two matches to go their way - Chennai losing to Punjab and Kolkata to Mumbai. Then, the teams which have the highest points now - Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Deccan - will be the semi-finalists.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Kolkata's emphatic win against Rajasthan has revived their hopes, but they still depend on other results going their way. If Chennai beat Punjab, Kolkata are out. Apart from Punjab beating Chennai, Kolkata's job will also become much simpler if Delhi beat Deccan; then, they'll only need to go past Deccan's NRR, which is currently -0.363 (and it might go down further if they lose to Delhi). If Deccan win, on the other hand, Kolkata will have to go past Delhi's NRR to make the cut, which will be a much tougher task.
Chennai Super Kings: Their situation is the most clear-cut: win, and go through to the semi-finals; lose, and pack your bags and go home.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo