It all boils down to the final four hours. After 69 games across 52 days, the last league match will decide the identity of the players fourth team in the playoffs.
The spotlight is on Royal Challengers Bangalore as they return home to the Chinnaswamy to host the Gujarat Titans after nearly a month on the road. They will know exactly what they need to qualify in the top four if net run rate becomes a factor, but the simplest route is to win. If they make it, it will be their fourth successive playoff appearance.
So what's going well for RCB? They are coming into this crucial fixture off two successive wins - against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals. Their strength is their batting, having scored more than 180 in three of their last four games. More specifically, it is their top-order batting, with Faf du Plessis (702), Virat Kohli (538) and Glenn Maxwell (389) doing the bulk of the run-scoring. The dependency on their Big Three could be a crucial factor in a crunch game.
Winning at the Chinnaswamy also hasn't been straightforward for RCB this season. While several teams have struggled to maximise their home advantage, it's 3-3 for RCB in Bengaluru this year, and 40 wins in 83 games overall.
So while RCB have everything to do to qualify for the playoffs, the Titans are already through. Hardik Pandya's team is only the second side to finish top of the table in two successive seasons, after the Mumbai Indians in 2019 and 2020.
Team news: Will Titans rest players?
Fast bowler Josh Little had missed a few matches to play an ODI series for Ireland against Bangladesh, but he re-joined the Titans squad on May 16. Vijay Shankar had also missed the previous game after getting hit in the nets. With Titans already through to the playoffs, the big question is whether they will rest any of their players, considering they play Qualifier 1 on May 23.
Du Plessis said at the toss of their previous game against Sunrisers that one of Hasaranga and Hazlewood was missing due to a niggle without specifying who it was.
The big question
Should RCB bring in Hasaranga for Bracewell?
Yes, if Hasaranga is fit
No, Bracewell has done well in the last two matches
RCB WWLLW (last five completed games, most recent first) Gujarat Titans WLWWL
Impact Player strategy
Anuj Rawat kept wickets for RCB instead of Dinesh Karthik in the last two matches and he is expected to do it again against Titans. Karthik or Mahipal Lomror could sub in and out for for left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed depending on whether they bat or bowl first.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (probable XII): 1 Virat Kohli, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Glenn Maxwell, 4 Mahipal Lomror, 5 Dinesh Karthik, 6 Michael Bracewell, 7 Anuj Rawat (wk), 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Karn Sharma, 10 Harshal Patel, 11 Mohammed Siraj, 12 Shahbaz Ahmed
Titans had swapped Shubman Gill with fast bowler Yash Dayal in their previous game against SRH. If Little returns, Gill and Mohit Sharma could be their Impact Players depending on whether they bat or bowl first.
Gujarat Titans (probable XII): 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Sai Sudharsan, 4 Hardik Pandya (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 Abhinav Manohar/Vijay Shankar, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Josh Little, 10 Noor Ahmad, 11 Mohammed Shami, 12 Mohit Sharma
Pitch and conditions
Bengaluru has been hot and humid this week but i rained on match eve and a couple of spells of rain is likely on Sunday as well. The average first-innings total at the Chinnaswamy Stadium is 194, so expect a run-fest.
Stats that matter
Kohli is a beast in Bengaluru with 3106 T20s runs at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the most by any batter, at a strike rate of 140.82.
Rashid Khan has dismissed du Plessis three times in eight T20s, and conceded only 32 runs in 45 balls.
Gill has scored at 148.14 against Mohammed Siraj in the IPL, with no dismissals in six innings.