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Stats Analysis

Scenarios: Kolkata Knight Riders' fate in their own hands, but negative NRR could complicate playoff chances

Delhi Capitals, meanwhile, could qualify with even just one win from their remaining matches

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
Coaches Brendon McCullum and Abhishek Nayar look on  •  BCCI

Coaches Brendon McCullum and Abhishek Nayar look on  •  BCCI

Kolkata Knight Riders - Played 10, Points 10
Remaining matches: vs DC, KXIP, CSK, RR
Two results over the last four days - Kings XI Punjab's win against Delhi Capitals, and their own defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore - mean that Kolkata Knight Riders have much less wriggle room than they had earlier. Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kings XI are only one win behind them and are breathing down their necks. Besides, the Knight Riders' net run-rate of -0.828 is currently the poorest among the four teams which are bunched together in the 8-10 point range.
From the Knight Riders' point of view, the positive is that they can still entirely control their progress to the playoffs: if they win all four and finish on 18, they will be through no matter what happens in the other matches. Also, their last two matches are against the teams which are currently languishing at the bottom of the table - Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
If the Knight Riders lose one of the remaining four matches and finish on 16 points, things could get trickier depending on the team they lose to. If they lose to the Kings XI, who go on to beat the Sunrisers later today, then there could be five teams on 16 or more points, including the Knight Riders and the Kings XI. If the Sunrisers win later today, though, and then win their remaining matches, then they could finish on 16 too, along with the Knight Riders and the top three. However, that will be a tall order for the Sunrisers, given that their last three games are against the Capitals, the Royal Challengers and Mumbai Indians.
If the Knight Riders lose two matches, though, then they will be at the mercy of other results thanks to their poor NRR, as up to seven teams could potentially finish on 14 or more points.
Delhi Capitals - Played 10, Points 14
Remaining matches: vs KKR, SRH, MI, RCB
For the Capitals, the last 10 days of the league stage will be all about maintaining momentum and ensuring a top-two finish. Unlike the Knight Riders, who will play the league laggards in the last two matches, the Capitals will finish their league stage campaign with matches against two of the strongest teams in Mumbai and the Royal Challengers. Those results might well ensure which teams finish in the top two positions.
However, for that to happen, the Capitals will probably have to take care of the teams which are below them on the points table. Two wins out of four will surely put them in the playoffs while one win should also be enough given their strong NRR, but the Capitals' ambitions will be higher than merely qualifying for the playoffs.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats