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IPL 2021 Play-offs Qualification Scenarios: Advantage KKR in 4-way battle for last spot


Royal Challengers Bangalore became the third team to qualify for the IPL 2021 play-offs but the race for the last spot in the final four has heated up after 49 matches in the season.

Virat Kohli’s RCB entered the play-offs after reaching 16 points from 12 matches. No other team can reach the 16-point mark while Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings are jostling for the top spot after having sealed 18 points from 12 games each.

However, it is advantage Kolkata Knight Riders as the 2-time champions pulled away from the mid-table clutter with a 6-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Sunday.

KKR got to 12 points from 13 matches and they have a positive Net Run Rate of +0.294. They are the only team to have a positive net run rate among the 4 teams that are still in contention for the play-offs spot.

IndiaToday.in takes a look at the possible scenarios in the play-offs race for the final spot.

The IPL points table before RR take on MI on Tuesday. (India Today Photo)

Quick look-ahead

RR have their fate in their own hands. They don’t have to depend on NRR calculations if they win their last 2 matches. If KKR win their final match against RR, they stand a great chance to make the play-offs. All 4 teams — KKR, PBKS, RR and MI — can end up with 12 points at the end of the group stages. PBKS need a few other results to go their way to sneak through to play-offs.

Chennai Super Kings – No. 1 with 18 points from 12 matches

Upcoming matches: DC on October 4, PBKS on October 7

CSK were the first team to qualify for the play-offs. They are sitting pretty on top of the points table despite their defeat to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. A win in one of their next two matches will all but assure them a spot in the top 2.

Delhi Capitals – No. 2 with 18 points from 12 matches

Upcoming fixtures: CSK on October 4, RCB on October 8

Delhi Capitals moved to 18 points to put pressure on CSK after their win over Mumbai Indians on Saturday. Much like CSK, DC will also need to win one of their next two matches to finish in the top 2.

If DC beat RCB on October 8, they are assured of a spot in the top 2.

Royal Challengers Bangalore – 3rd with 16 points

Upcoming fixtures: SRH on October 6, DC on October 8

As Virat Kohli acknowledged, RCB qualified for the play-offs with as many as 2 games in hand for the first time since 2011. The skipper said after their win over PBKS on Sunday that RCB will look to finish inside the top 2.

For RCB to finish inside the top 2, they have to win their next two matches by a big margin and hope both CSK and DC lose one of their next two matches. Their poor NRR might not allow them to finish inside the top 2 and have an extra shot at reaching the final.

Kolkata Knight Riders – 4th with 12 points

Upcoming matches: RR on October 7

Kolkata Knight Riders’s chances of reaching the play-offs received a huge boost after their win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.

It is safe to say KKR have their fate in their own hands now. All Kolkata need to do is win their final match. If they manage to win it by a big margin, the doors will close on the other three teams who are in contention for the final spot.

It has to be noted that only one of RR and MI can get to 14 points as the two will meet each other on October 5.

Punjab Kings – 5th with 10 points

Upcoming match: CSK on October 7

The defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore has dented Punjab Kings’ chances of reaching the play-offs. Unlike the other 3 teams who are in contention for the last spot in the play-offs, PBKS can’t get to 14 points.

PBKS don’t have their fate in their own hands.

All PBKS can do is beat CSK by a big margin and hope KKR lose their next match to Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians beat RR on October 5.

However, RR and MI also have to lose their other match by a big margin to help PBKS sneak through.

It looks unlikely at the moment.

Rajasthan Royals – 6th with 10 points

Upcoming matches: MI on October 5, KKR on October 7

Much like Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals have their fate in their own hands as they are facing their rivals KKR and Mumbai Indians in their last two matches.

The equation is simple for RR: Beat MI on October 5 and KKR on October 7 and reach the play-offs.

Mumbai Indians: 7th with 10 points

Upcoming matches: RR on October 5, SRH on October 8

Mumbai Indians are in a spot of bother as their net run rate -0.453 is the worst among the 4 teams in contention for the final play-offs spot.

Mumbai Indians need to beat Rajasthan Royals on October 5 and Sunrisers Hyderabad on October 8. Also, they need to win those two matches by a big margin to get their net run rate into the positive territory which looks an uphill task.

If KKR win their next match, MI’s chances of reaching the play-offs take a big hit.

Mumbai can get into the play-offs by winning only one of their next two matches but it would require a lot of other results to go their way.


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