Here’s what teams need to do with six matches remaining in the league phase of IPL 2018:
|Chennai Super Kings||12||8||4||0||0||16||0.383|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||13||7||6||0||0||14||-0.091|
|Kings XI Punjab||13||6||7||0||0||12||-0.49|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||12||5||7||0||0||10||0.218|
Kolkata Knight Riders (Points 14; NRR -0.091)
With the crucial win against Rajasthan Royals in their final home game, KKR have inched closer to the play-offs. Their last league game is against the table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad and should they win it, they are surging ahead to the business end of the tournament. If they lose to SRH, their progress will be dependent on other results. They could be tied on 14 points with one or more sides and NRR will decide who qualifies. Their NRR is still in the arrears (-0.091) and could bite them if such a scenario occurs. However, if all of MI, RCB and RR lose at least one more game each, KKR can go through with 14 points without NRR coming into picture.
Mumbai Indians (Points 12; NRR +0.384)
A spate of last-over losses at the start of the season has left the defending champions with too much to catch up with at the fag end of the tournament. But with their win over KXIP in the last home game, they have their fate in their own hands. Should they beat DD on Sunday, they are almost certain of a spot in the playoffs thanks to their superior NRR of +0.384. In the event of them losing to DD, there exists a remote possibility of the fourth team going through with 12 points. As said, a healthy positive NRR can turn the tide in MI’s favour if that happens.
Rajasthan Royals (Points 12; NRR -0.403)
After three back-to-back wins, RR find themselves in jeopardy after the loss in the crucial fixture against KKR. Their already poor NRR of -0.347 has further nosedived to -0.403. With MI beating KXIP, it is now certain that the fourth team can’t reach 16 points. For them to qualify on 14 points, they should first overcome the RCB hurdle on Saturday in Jaipur without the services of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. If they succeed in that, they will be locked at 14 points with one or more teams. Having said that, they need a massive win to boost their fledgling NRR and pip other teams that end with 14 points.
Kings XI Punjab (Points 12; NRR -0.490)
After spending most of the tournament in the top half of the table, the worst day of the season pushed them to the bottom-half at a crucial time. They suffered a reversal of fortune in the second-half of the season. After winning five out of their first six games, they could win only one of their next seven. They not only need to beat CSK in their last league fixture, but also need to do that by a sizeable margin to boost their negative NRR (-0.490) if they end up tied on 14 points with one or more sides. The advantage for them is that they will be playing the last league fixture which should help them to know exactly what they need to do to progress.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Points 10; NRR +0.218)
Back-to-back wins for the first time in two seasons has given RCB’s quest for a maiden IPL title a fresh lease of life, albeit them needing other results to go their way. The best RCB can reach is 14 points where they can tie with other sides and race ahead by virtue of a positive NRR. The huge win over KXIP has shot their NRR from -0.261 to +0.218 and it will get further enhanced with another couple of wins. Like MI, thanks to their healthy NRR, they can also progress to the business end of the season in case of a four-way tie at 12 points. However, should they beat SRH in Bengaluru on Thursday, the 12-point tie scenario will be eliminated as they face off RR on Saturday with both of them on 12 points each.