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Rajasthan Royals have to beat Punjab Kings, and then hope for the best

Royals have a better chance of making the playoffs than Punjab Kings or Kolkata Knight Riders, but they need other results to go their way

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
Sanju Samson and Dhruv Jurel collided but Trent Boult was there to catch the ball, Gujarat Titans vs Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2023, Ahmedabad, April 16, 2023

From setting the pace in the first start of the season, Rajasthan Royals' are now in a tough situation  •  Associated Press

Rajasthan Royals

Played 13, Points 12, NRR 0.140
Last match vs PBKS (away)

Punjab Kings

Played 13, Points 12, NRR -0.308
Last match vs RR (home)
Rajasthan Royals' superior net run rate (NRR) gives them a distinct advantage in their clash against Punjab Kings in Dharamsala. With three teams already on 15 or more points, there is only the last slot remaining for the teams that can get to a maximum of 14 points. Both Royals and Kings fall in that category, along with Kolkata Knight Riders.
Royals, though, have an NRR of 0.140, compared to -0.308 for Kings, and -0.256 for Knight Riders. All these teams will have to get past Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are already on 14 points with a healthy NRR of 0.180. (Mumbai Indians are on 14 too, but with a poorer NRR of -0.128.)
Among these teams, Royals clearly have the best chance of taking that fourth slot if RCB and Mumbai both lose their last game. Even if RCB lose by only one run, Royals need to win by just 10 (assuming first-innings scores of 180) to edge past them on NRR.
For KKR and Kings to achieve the same, they will have to hope for much greater assistance from RCB: even if RCB lose by 30 runs, KKR will still have to win by 78 to get ahead on NRR; for Punjab Kings, that margin is around 94 runs.
These teams will have to do to their opponents what RCB did to Royals on May 14, or hope that Gujarat Titans inflict a similar huge loss on RCB in Bengaluru on Sunday. Barring such an occurrence, qualification chances are extremely slim for Kings and KKR. Royals, on the other hand, still have a chance in terms of NRR. But for run rates to come into relevance for these teams, both Mumbai and RCB will have to end their league campaigns with home defeats.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats