With just four more games to be played in the group stage, the Playoffs scenario for this year’s IPL has become simpler. Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore are already through to the last four. Also, after RCB’s defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad, the top-two finish is all but settled. DC are there and CSK will join them unless they lose huge to Punjab Kings in their last game. The fourth place is now effectively a straight fight between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians.

RCB’s equation

After going down to Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday, RCB stay rooted on 16 points, while their net run-rate slid to -0.15. Their last game is against DC and for RCB to finish second, first CSK have to lose big against Punjab Kings followed by a victory for Virat Kohli’s team by at least 130 runs. CSK’s net run-rate, +0.73, stand head and shoulders above the rest beating Punjab Kings would be the icing on the cake.

CSK all but safe

Back-to-back defeats had put MS Dhoni and company in a little spot of bother. But they are safe after RCB’s defeat and also have their excellent net run-rate to fall back on. Unless a miracle, RCB are going to the Eliminator.

DC’s position

With 20 points in the bag, they have already secured a top-two finish. DC and CSK look set to play Qualifier 1 at the moment.

KKR and MI in race for final spot

Both are on 12 points each with a game in hand. KKR, however, have the advantage of having a very healthy net run-rate, +0.29. If Eoin Morgan’s team beat Rajasthan Royals, they would be all but through, for MI have to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by over 100 runs in that case to pull off a heist. In case, both KKR and MI lose their respective last group league games and Kings and Royals win theirs, it would be a four-way tie on 12 points each. However, the net run-rate of the Kings and Royals, -0.24 and -0.73, barely give them a chance and KKR’s positive run-rate will see them through.

Shamik Chakrabarty … read more

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