IPL qualification scenarios: Race to play-offs wide open
Fifty two matches into the league stage of Indian Premier League 2016 and surprisingly, none of the teams have booked a berth in the play-offs. Two teams, Kings XI Punjab and Rising Pune Supergiants, are out of the reckoning, but the six other teams still have a chance to make it to the next stage. With the tournament so delicately poised, the last few games will be must-watch, and for teams, in many cases, must-win, affairs.
The Saturday (May 21) fixture between Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions will definitely give us the first team to qualify to the play-offs. There exists a unique possibility of a five-way tie at 16 points if Mumbai Indians beat Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sun Risers Hyderabad. If that happens, it will be the first time that the top two teams will be determined by virtue of net run rates.
Here's how the things stand after the match 52 of IPL 2016 between Delhi Daredevils and Sun Risers Hyderabad and what teams need to do to progress further.
Sun Risers Hyderabad (Points 16; NRR +0.355)
Vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Kolkata, 22 May 2015
If they beat Kolkata Knight Riders in their final league game, they will qualify and finish in the top two.
Sunrisers are through irrespective of the outcome of their final game if Gujarat Lions beat Mumbai Indians.
The only theoretical possibility of their elimination is in a five-way tie at 16 points. However, only a truly humongous loss could see them being ousted.
Gujarat Lions (Points 16; NRR -0.479)
Vs Mumbai Indians, Kanpur, 21 May 2015
If they beat Mumbai Indians in their last league game, they progress and end up in the top two.
If they lose to Mumbai Indians, there exists a possibility of a five-way tie 16 points and a negative net rate might deter their further progress. However, if Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kolkata Knight Riders, Gujarat Lions are through even they don't win.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Points 14; NRR +0.930)
Vs Delhi Daredevils, Raipur, 22 May 2015
A win in their last game should be enough to carry them to knockouts even in case of a tie at 16 points thanks to their stellar net run rate of +0.926.
If they lose, they will get eliminated if either of Mumbai Indians or Kolkata Knight Riders manage to win their final game. If both Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians lose, there will be a three-way tie at 14 points and the final standing will depend on the Net Run Rate.
Kolkata Knight Riders (Points 14; NRR +0.022)
Vs Sun Risers Hyderabad, Kolkata, 22 May 2015
If they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad, they are almost guaranteed qualification. They will definitely qualify if they win and Mumbai Indians lose their final game.
If they lose to Sunrisers Hyderbad, they will be eliminated if Mumbai Indians win their final game. If Mumbai Indians also lose, there exists a possibility of three-way tie at 14 points between Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and the loser of the Delhi Daredevils-Royal Challengers Bangalore match and Net Run Rate will come into the picture.
Mumbai Indians (Points 14; NRR -0.082)
Vs Gujarat Lions, Kanpur, 21 May 2015
If they beat Gujarat Lions, they are through thanks to their superior run rate compared to that of their opponents. So even if there is a five-way tie, they are sure to finish above at least the Lions.
If they lose, they will get eliminated if Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. But if the Knight Riders also lose, there will be a three-way tie at 14 points between Mumbai Indians, Knight Riders and the loser of Daredevils-Royal Challengers match.
Delhi Daredevils (Points 14; NRR -0.102)
Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Raipur, 22 May 2015
If the Daredevils beat Virat Kohli's side, they will be through to the qualifiers even if they get caught up in a five-way tie.
If Daredevils lose to the Royal Challengers, they will be eliminated if either Kolkata Knight Riders or Mumbai Indians win their last league fixture. If both the teams lose, there exists a possibility of a three-way tie at 14 points and net run rate would come into play.
NOTE: Rising Pune Supergiants and Kings XI Punjab have already been eliminated.