Royal Challengers Bangalore have been going through a wretched run in IPL 2017, and are currently languishing at five points from nine games. Qualifying for the playoffs looks a distant dream, but mathematically they are not out of the race yet. If they win all remaining five games and finish with 15 points, they could still make it among the top four; in fact, they can afford another loss, finish on 13 points, and still make the playoffs.
The advantage for the laggards this season is that two teams - Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians - have distanced themselves from the rest of the group, while a third - Sunrisers Hyderabad - has also performed better than the others. In such a scenario, the qualification mark for the fourth team could be much lower than is usually the case. If the top three teams keep winning, and the rest lose most of their remaining games, even 13 points could be enough for Royal Challengers to qualify.
Here is just one example of how Royal Challengers could still make the playoffs:
They win each of their remaining matches and go to 15 points
Knight Riders, currently on 14 from nine, win three of the remaining five games to move to 20, while Mumbai Indians win three out of six to go to 18
Sunrisers Hyderabad take third spot with 17 points by winning three of their remaining five games
Rising Pune Supergiant lose five of their remaining six games to finish on 10
Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils win three of their remaining matches each, while Kings XI Punjab win two
In such a scenario, the final points tally will be as follows:
Knight Riders - 20, Mumbai Indians - 18, Sunrisers Hyderabad - 17, Royal Challengers - 15, Gujarat Lions - 12, Rising Pune, Kings XI and Daredevils - 10 each.
That means Royal Challengers could still lose another one - they have a game each against the two top teams of the tournament - and yet potentially make it without even relying on net run rates. Given the way they have been playing so far, all of this looks quite far-fetched, but there is still plenty to play for, for Royal Challengers Bangalore.