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Four teams, one last spot in the playoffs

Kings XI Punjab have a tougher road to the playoffs than Kolkata Knight Riders BCCI

While the top three teams have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, there's plenty at stake in the lower half of the table, with four teams still in the hunt for the last playoff spot. Ahead of the Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders game, here is a look at how that race could pan out.

Knight Riders and Kings XI are both on 10 points, and while Knight Riders have the better net run-rate (0.1 to -0.296), that factor is unlikely to come into play, given that Sunrisers Hyderabad are so far ahead at 0.653.

Hence, Friday's game is a virtual eliminator.

  • If Knight Riders lose on Friday, even by a slim margin of, say, five runs, they will have to win their last game - away, against Mumbai Indians - by about 75 runs and hope that Sunrisers lose to Royal Challengers Bangalore by around the same margin, to squeeze past Sunrisers on NRR (The sum of the margins needs to be around 150, so if Sunrisers lose by 50, Knight Riders will have to win by 100.)

  • For Kings XI, the margins are even more improbable: if they lose by five runs, then the sum of the margins will need to be around 240 for them to go through. That is, if Kings XI beat Chennai Super Kings by 100 runs in their last game, they will need Sunrisers to lose to Royal Challengers by 140 runs.
    This means it's more than likely that it's the end of the road for whoever loses Friday's game.

  • Even the winners of Friday's game will have to wait on the result of Sunrisers' final league game to know their chances of qualifying. If Sunrisers win, they will almost certainly take the fourth playoff spot. If, for example, Sunrisers end up beating Royal Challengers by five runs, Knight Riders will have to win each of their two remaining matches by around 75 runs to surpass Sunrisers' NRR.
    If Sunrisers lose to Royal Challengers, then the winner of the Kings XI-Knight Riders game will make the playoffs if they also win their last league game.

  • The other team in the hunt for a playoff spot is Rajasthan Royals, who are on 11 points with a game to play, against Delhi Capitals (away) on Saturday. Mumbai Indians' Super Over win on Thursday means Royals still have a chance of qualifying. That will only happen if they beat Capitals, if Sunrisers lose to Royal Challengers, and if the winners of the Kings XI-Knight Riders game lose their last match.