Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab — all these teams can still qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings have already sealed their respective places in the last four while Delhi Daredevils will end their campaign at the bottom of the table, leaving the aforementioned five teams to fight it out amongst themselves.
All teams have played 13 matches so far and to say that the first match of Super Saturday will be a mouth-watering one, will be an understatement. Both Rajasthan and Bangalore are locked at 12 points each and win for either of them will get them closer to the play-off spot. Bangalore have won three out of last four matches and that has improved their run rate dramatically and a win for them in this clash will almost seal a place for them in the last four. While on the other hand, a loss will guarantee ouster from the race so there is plenty to play for both the teams in this winner-takes-it-all clash.
Kolkata will take on Hyderabad in the second match of the Super Saturday. A win for KKR in this clash will guarantee a spot in the last four for the two-time champions as they are the only team amongst the five contenders who can reach 16 points. However, a loss in their last group game will see them depending on other results and their bad net run-rate won't help their cause either.
Moving on to Super Sunday where Delhi host Mumbai in the first match of the day. A win for Mumbai in this match will see them jump to 14 points and with a healthy NRR of +0.384, they will be almost guaranteed to make it into the last four. While a loss for the defending champions in capital will see them crash out of the competition.
Things are not so straight forward for Rajasthan like the above mentioned teams as the first-ever champions will have to rely on other results to make it into the last four. Even if the Royals beat RCB, they won't seal a place in the knockouts because of their poor net run rate. Apart from beating Bangalore, RR will rely on CSK beating KXIP and DD getting the better of MI on Sunday.
Punjab have lost six out of their last seven matches and that has severely dented their chances of making it into the playoffs. Not to forget their NRR which is the worst in the league currently. It will only take a miracle for KXIP to progress into the knockouts from here as they need so many things to go their way.
For starters, Punjab will be hoping that Rajasthan beat Bangalore by a small margin so that the their NRR doesn't get a massive spike. Then they will hope that Delhi beat Mumbai at home. And in the last league match of the season, they will look to stun Chennai Super Kings in Pune. And even if all these stars do align somehow, KXIP's poor NRR could cost their dearly. Not to forget if either Bangalore and Mumbai win their respective last league matches, then Punjab will be automatically out of the competition.
First Published: May 19, 2018, 1:48 PM IST