Scenarios: Royals keep playoff hopes alive; CSK and LSG eye top-two finish

Six teams are still in contention for the remaining three playoff spots

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
Rajasthan Royals now depend on Royals Challengers and Mumbai Indians to qualify for the playoffs  •  Associated Press

Rajasthan Royals now depend on Royals Challengers and Mumbai Indians to qualify for the playoffs  •  Associated Press

Punjab Kings' ouster means now six teams are in contention for the remaining three playoff spots, going into the final weekend of the league stage. Here is a look at how the fortunes of each team stack up.

Rajasthan Royals

Played 14, Points 14, NRR 0.148
Rajasthan Royals have kept themselves in the hunt for a top-four finish with their last-over win against Kings. Their net run rate of 0.148 means that if Royal Challengers Bangalore (current NRR 0.180) lose by six or more runs, chasing 181, then Royals will sneak ahead on the NRR. They will need Mumbai Indians to lose too, but there's no NRR issue there, as Mumbai are languishing at -0.128.
Kolkata Knight Riders are also in the mix, looking to get up to 14 points. However, their current NRR of -0.256 means they will need to win their last game - at home against Lucknow Super Giants - by 102 runs (if they score 180) to get ahead of Royals on NRR. Thus, Royals will have an excellent chance of qualifying if Mumbai and RCB lose their last games.
The attention now shifts to Saturday's games, where two teams on 15 points will look to seal their spots in the top four, and even the top two.

Lucknow Super Giants

Played 13, Points 15, NRR 0.304
Remaining: KKR (a)

Chennai Super Kings

Played 13, Points 15, NRR 0.381
Remaining: DC (a)
A win for either of these teams will secure their place in the playoffs. If one of the two teams wins and the other loses, then the winning team will be assured of a top-two finish, while the losing team will be stuck on 15, hoping that at least one of RCB or Mumbai lose their last game. If both Mumbai and RCB win, then the team on 15 will be knocked out.
If both CSK and LSG win on Saturday, then the second place will be decided on NRR. If CSK win by ten runs, then LSG will have to beat KKR by 29 (assuming first-innings scores of 180) to sneak ahead on NRR.
Wins for both those teams will leave only one other qualification slot available, with four contenders - Mumbai, RCB, Royals and KKR. As explained earlier, KKR have an extremely slim chance, while Mumbai Indians' best bet is if they win and RCB lose. If both RCB and Mumbai win, then NRR will decide the fourth qualifier: even if RCB win by just one run, Mumbai will have to win by 79 to go past them on NRR.
On the other hand, if both CSK and LSG lose, then the team with the higher NRR between them will be assured of qualification even if both Mumbai and RCB win. If all these four teams lose, then 15 points will be enough for second place, and will go to the team with the higher run rate between CSK and LSG. In that case, the points table will have one runaway leader with 20 points (Gujarat Titans), two on 15 (CSK, LSG), four on 14 (RCB, Royals, Mumbai, KKR), two on 12 (Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals), and one on 10 (Sunrisers Hyderabad).

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats