IPL 2018 Playoffs: Battle Heats Up for Last Tw…

New Delhi: It’s the penultimate week of the Indian Premier League and till now the four teams for the playoffs haven’t been decided. Only Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings have qualified for the final four. Currently, it’s a battle between Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. This is perhaps the first time in IPL, where two playoff spots are up for grabs just a few day prior to the league game end.

Cricketnext takes a look at possible scenarios, and which team could progress in the tournament:

Kolkata Knight Riders – M: 13, W: 7, PTS: 14, NRR: (-0.091)

KKR posted a resounding 6-wicket win over Rajasthan at their home. The star of the match was Kuldeep Yadav who returned with match figures of 4/20. This win has put them on the third position in the points table. This means that they need to win their final league match against Sunrisers Hyderabad to progress. If they fail to win the match, and either KXIP or Rajasthan move to 14 points, NRR will come into play. But if Mumbai, Bangalore and Rajasthan lose their matches, they could sail through without NRR coming into equation.

Rajasthan Royals – M: 13, W: 6, PTS: 12, NRR: (-0.403)

After having made a comeback of sorts in the tournament after three consecutive wins, it was a costly loss for RR against KKR. The equation is pretty simple for Rajasthan. They need to win their game against RCB, to come on 14 points. But despite this, if KKR beat SRH and KXIP beat MI and CSK, it will be curtains for RR. For now, it looks like a tough task for them to win without the services of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, who are away on national duty. Also they need a massive push in their NRR, if they get tied at 14 points.

Kings XI Punjab – M: 12, W: 6, PTS: 12, NRR: (-0.518)

Punjab seem to have lost their way in the business end of the tournament. Having spent a sizeable part of this IPL in the top-half of the points table, they are now struggling to secure a playoff berth. In their last six matches, they have only managed to post only one win. They have two games remaining, against Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. If they win both their matches, they will go through. One win would mean that they’d be tied on 14 points with one or more teams. If there arises a situation where they are tied on points with any team, they might miss the bus because of their inferior NRR.

Mumbai Indians – M: 12, W: 5, PTS: 10, NRR: (+0.405)

MI are in a tricky situation after losing to Rajasthan Royals in the last encounter. Once more loss in the tournament would be end of the journey for them this year. They need to ensure that they post a win against KXIP on Wednesday. If they win both their remaining matches, that would bring them to 14 points. If they are tied with any team, then their superior NRR would come to their rescue. If they win both their matches, even a team with 12 points can qualify.

Royal Challengers Bangalore – M: 12, W: 5, PTS: 10, NRR: (+0.218)

It’s a tough ask for RCB to qualify. If KXIP and KKR win their respective games, then it’s game over for Bangalore. For them to qualify, they will have to win their last two matches. Then it will boil down to NRR. There is a remote possibility of them making it to last-4 even if it’s a tie at 12 points, courtesy their healthy NRR.