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Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings fight for top-two finish; KKR for playoffs

Hardik Pandya made crucial breakthroughs BCCI

With only two games left in the league stage of IPL 2019, there is still plenty to play for. The fourth qualification spot is still up for grabs, while three teams are in contention for the top two spots. Here is a look at what is at stake on Sunday.

Chennai Super Kings are on top of the leaderboard, and they will stay there if they beat Kings XI Punjab on Sunday. A defeat will push them out of the top spot if Mumbai Indians beat Kolkata Knight Riders, but Super Kings could still finish among the top two if they don't lose too badly: if they're chasing 180, they can afford to lose by as much as 41 runs and still stay above Delhi Capital's net run-rate; if they bat first and score 160, they can afford to lose in about 15 overs. There's a huge incentive for them to finish in the top two, as they will then get the opportunity to play in the first qualifier at home.

The one team that Super Kings have lost to at home this season are Mumbai Indians, and they will have a chance to repeat that performance in the first qualifier if they beat Kolkata Knight Riders at home in the last match of the league stage on Sunday. Mumbai's excellent net run-rate of 0.321 means that a win by any margin will push them above Capitals on the points table. And if Super Kings lose their last game, then Mumbai will top the points table.

For Capitals to finish among the top two, at least one out of Super Kings or Mumbai will have to lose on Sunday. If Super Kings lose, the margin will have to be significant enough for them to slip below Capitals on the net run-rate (as explained above); if Mumbai Indians lose, they will finish on 16, to Capitals' 18.

The other battle on Sunday will happen for the fourth spot. If Knight Riders beat Mumbai, they will take that fourth spot, and those two teams will clash again in the Eliminator on Wednesday. If Knight Riders lose, then Sunrisers Hyderabad will sneak through despite finishing on only 12 points - it will be the first time in IPL history that a team would have qualified with 12 points.

Kings XI Punjab will finish on 12 too if they beat Super Kings, but they are so far behind on the net run-rate that they will need a victory margin of around 250 runs to surpass Sunrisers' net run-rate.