Going up, going down
When the last round of the Ranji Trophy Super League begins on Tuesday, nine teams will compete for the remaining three slots in the semi-finals (Baroda are already through). That, and the fact that they are all playing simultaneously, opens up various possibilities. Cricinfo looks at what various teams need to do to advance to the next stage - or to avoid relegation.
First, the rules: For teams tied on points, the separator will be the number of wins. If they have the same number of outright wins, a quotient will be applied: the ratio between the number of runs scored divided by wickets lost and number of runs conceded divided by wickets taken.
Saurashtra, currently on 20 points and facing Mumbai
Sure shot: Beat Mumbai, which will take them to 25 points, or take a first-innings lead - a total of 23 points. In the first scenario they will definitely lead the table, in the latter they will lead unless Delhi beat Tamil Nadu.
In the reckoning: Even if they manage a point off Mumbai, they are likely to go through to the semi-finals, because they will be tied with Mumbai at 21 points in that scenario. And incredibly if Delhi manage a first-innings lead against Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra a bonus point against Karnataka, we will have four teams tied at 21 points. In that case, Saurashtra and Maharashtra will go through by the virtue of most number of outright wins.
Scraping through: If Saurashtra lose the match, they still have a chance if Delhi fail to take the first-innings lead against Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra don't win their match against Karnataka.
Mumbai, currently on 18 points and facing Saurashtra
Sure shot: If they beat Saurashtra, they are through to the semi-finals, regardless of the results in the other matches.
In the reckoning: A first-innings lead over Saurashtra will tie the two at 21, but Saurashtra have more outright wins so they will go through. And Mumbai will have to hope Delhi don't take the first-innings lead against Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra don't win by a bonus point.
Scraping through: If they concede a first-innings lead at the Wankhede Stadium, they still have a chance to go through if Delhi lose and Maharashtra don't take the first-innings lead. In case Delhi and Mumbai lose their matches, they will be tied at 18 points, and the quotient will have to separate the two, and as of now Delhi have a better quotient.
Delhi, currently on 18 points and facing Tamil Nadu
Sure shot: If they beat Tamil Nadu, they are assured of a semi-final place without having to worry about other results.
In the reckoning: A first-innings lead against Tamil Nadu will get them to 21, but if Maharashtra win with a bonus point, Delhi will be knocked out.
Scraping through: If they lose, they will hope Mumbai do too and that Maharashtra don't win their match. If Maharashtra take the first-innings lead, all three will be tied on 18, and the quotient currently favours Delhi in that scenario.
Maharashtra, currently on 15 points and facing Karnataka
In the reckoning: They will have to win with a bonus point over Karnataka and then also hope that only one of Mumbai, Delhi or Saurashtra reach 21 points. If they fail to get the bonus point, they will go through if Delhi and Mumbai fail to take the first-innings lead, or if Mumbai beat Saurashtra and Delhi fail to gain three points.
Scraping through If they manage a first-innings lead and Delhi and Mumbai lose, the quotient will come into play. There is a faint chance Maharashtra might go through in that case.
Tamil Nadu, currently on 13 points and facing Delhi
Outside chance: If they beat Delhi outright with a bonus point, and Mumbai and Maharashtra lose, Tamil Nadu will qualify second from the group. If they win without the bonus point, and if either of Mumbai or Delhi lose and Maharashtra fail to take the first-innings lead, the quotient comes into play, and Tamil Nadu currently have the second-best quotient after Delhi.
Relegation face-off between Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan
A draw or tie will be enough for Himachal, but Rajasthan will be through if they win or take the first-innings lead.
Baroda, currently on 18 points and facing Orissa
They are already through to the semi-finals, but will want to ensure they lead the group by taking a first-innings lead.
Uttar Pradesh, currently on 14 points and facing Hyderabad
Sure shot: A win over Hyderabad, which will take them to 19, will be enough to ensure them a place in the semi-finals.
In the reckoning: A first-innings lead will take them to 17, which will not be enough if Andhra win with a bonus point. If Andhra wins, quotient comes into the picture.
If UP fail to take the first-innings lead, Andhra will go through if they gain the first-innings lead. In such a scenario, a win for Orissa will also see UP knocked out.
No second chance: If they fail lose against Hyderabad, they will be out of the race.
Andhra, currently on 12 points and facing Bengal
In the reckoning: A win with a bonus point, and they will still have to hope UP don't win their match.
No second chance: A first-innings lead will not be enough for Andhra to go through, as even if its comes to a tie, their solitary win will be their downfall.
Facing the axe: They need only one point against Bengal to avoid relegation. But if they lose, and Orissa and Hyderabad manage first-innings leads, Andhra will be relegated.
Hyderabad, currently on 10 points and facing UP
Only way in: They have to beat UP outright, preferably with a bonus point, and hope that either of Orissa and Andhra don't end up in a better position.
Facing the axe: A first-innings lead will ensure they don't get relegated, but if they don't they give Bengal and Orissa a chance to move ahead.
Orissa, currently on 10 points and facing Baroda
Only way in: They have to beat Baroda outright, preferably with a bonus point, and hope that either of UP, Orissa and Andhra don't end up in a better position.
Facing the axe: A first-innings lead will ensure they don't get relegated, but if they don't they give Bengal and Hyderabad a chance to move ahead.
Bengal, currently on 8 points and facing Andhra
Facing the axe: Trailing the second-last team by two points, a win will ensure Bengal are not relegated.
If Bengal manage a first-innings lead, they will have to hope either Orissa or Hyderabad lose their match, or Hyderabad manage only one point, in which case a lower quotient will result in Bengal or Hyderabad being relegated.