Big defeats for the Delhi Capitals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore have shaken up the points table again, with plenty of qualifications possibilities still open with four matches to go. The Mumbai Indians will finish on top, but six teams are still in the fray for the three other spots. Here is a look at what each team needs to do to qualify.
Kings XI Punjab: Played 13, Points 12, NRR -0.133
Remaining match: vs Super Kings
The heavy defeats for the Capitals and the Royal Challengers mean the Kings XI Punjab now have a higher net run rate (NRR) than both those teams. That means a win by any margin in their last game, against the Chennai Super Kings, will keep the Kings XI above the team that loses Monday's Capitals-Royal Challengers game. (The winner of that game will qualify with 16 points.)
If the Sunrisers Hyderabad win their last match, they will go through for sure, which means the Kings XI will also have to ensure their NRR stays above that of the winner of the game between the Rajasthan Royals and the Kolkata Knight Riders. Here is how that situation pans out:
- If the Kings XI score 180 and win by a run, the Royals will have to win by 65 runs (if they score 180) or in fewer than 13 overs (if chasing 160) to go past the Kings XI's NRR
- For the Knight Riders, the corresponding margins are 85 runs and 9.3 overs
Those look to be fairly difficult asks, so the Kings XI Punjab should be quite safe if they seal a victory on Sunday.
Rajasthan Royals: Played 13, Points 12, NRR -0.377
Remaining match: vs Knight Riders
Given the Royals' poor NRR, their best bet for qualification will be if the Sunrisers and the Kings XI lose their last matches. Then, the Royals will progress to the playoffs without NRR coming into play if they beat the Knight Riders on Sunday.
If one of the Sunrisers or the Kings XI win, then the Royals will have to ensure their NRR is higher than that of the loser of the Capitals-Royal Challengers match. If the Royal Challengers lose that match by a run, the margin for the Royals will be around 60 runs; if the Capitals lose by a run, it will be around 55 runs.
If both the Sunrisers and the Kings XI win, then the Royals will have to go past the Kings XI's NRR to win. That margin, as mentioned in Kings XI's scenario above, will be slightly higher.
For all these calculations to come into play, they will have to beat the Knight Riders on Sunday.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Played 13, Points 12, NRR -0.467
Remaining match: vs Rajasthan Royals
The Knight Riders are in a similar situation as the Royals, their opponents on Sunday, except that their NRR is a bit poorer. Hence, the best-case scenario for them is exactly what applies to Royals: to hope that the Sunrisers and the Kings XI lose their last games. Then, the Knight Riders will qualify as the fourth team if they beat the Royals.
If the Kings XI or the Sunrisers win their last game, then the Knight Riders will have to win by a big enough margin which lifts their NRR above that of the loser of the Capitals-Royal Challengers match, or the Kings XI. In any case, the minimum margin for the Knight Riders in any of these situations will be around 75 runs. Hence, their best bet, quite clearly, is to win their last game and hope that the Kings XI and the Sunrisers lose theirs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Played 13, Points 14, NRR -0.145
Remaining match: vs Capitals
A win against the Capitals will lift the Royal Challengers to second place. If they lose, however, then they will be at the mercy of other results. If the Sunrisers and the Kings XI win their last matches, then 14 points will not be enough for the Royal Challengers.
If one of those two teams lose, then the Royal Challengers will be through provided the margin of victory in the Royals-Knight Riders game is not huge. If both the Sunrisers and the Kings XI lose, then the Royal Challengers will be through without NRR coming into play. In that scenario, the four bottom-placed teams will all finish with 12 points.
Delhi Capitals: Played 13, Points 14, NRR -0.159
Remaining match: vs Royal Challengers
Not only have the Delhi Capitals lost their last four matches, they have also lost three by huge margins, which has shaved off a whopping 0.933 from their NRR.
The Capitals are now in a similar situation as the Royal Challengers, their opponents on Monday. If they win, they will finish second; if they lose, their survival will depend on other results. Since the Sunrisers and the Kings XI both already have better NRRs, the Capitals cannot catch up with them if they win their last matches, and if the Capitals lose and stay on 14.
If either the Sunrisers or the Kings XI lose, then the Capitals will qualify provided the margin of victory in the Royals-Knight Riders match is not huge.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Played 13, Points 12, NRR 0.555
Remaining match: vs Mumbai
The Sunrisers have made a late surge and have an excellent NRR, but their last game is against table-toppers Mumbai Indians. However, apart from the NRR, what might work in their favour is the fact that they will play Mumbai in Sharjah, the same venue where they beat the Royal Challengers so emphatically.
The equation for the Sunrisers is the simplest: beat Mumbai, and they will be through regardless of other results; lose the match, and they will be out.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats