IPL 2018: How Royal Challengers Bangalore can qualify for the playoffs
The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore seem to be peaking at just the right time. All the eight teams are left with two more matches in the tournament before the line-up for the playoffs is decided.
As far as the Bangalore-based franchise are concerned, their tournament didn't start on the right note and they were once all but out of the race for the playoff spots. However, two wins in their last two encounters have brought them back into the thick of things.
As things stand, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings have already booked their respective places in the playoffs and in all probability, the two would be fighting it out in the Qualifier 1 as the top-two teams. Rest of the teams, except the eliminated Delhi Daredevils, are still in contention for the last two playoff spots.
Race for the playoffs
Three teams, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab have 12 points in as many matches and occupy the third, fourth and fifth spots on the table respectively. Mumbai Indians and RCB, on the other hand, have 10 points in 12 matches and are sixth and seventh respectively.
KKR vs RR
MI vs KXIP
RCB vs SRH
DD vs CSK
RR vs RCB
SRH vs KKR
DD vs MI
CSK vs KXIP
Now if RCB are to make it to the top four without much of a fuss, they will have to win both their remaining matches, against SRH and RR. Assuming they do win these two encounters, here's how they can slide into one of the last two playoff spots.
Firstly, Kohli and his team would hope that at least two of the three teams who have 12 points now - KKR, RR and KXIP - fall in at least one of their remaining two matches. This would mean that RCB will have two playoff spots to aim at, making their job a tad easier. That Bangalore have a healthier net run rate than these three would work in their favour as well.
If RR manage to defeat KKR tonight (15th May), RCB's last encounter against Rajasthan would become a virtual quarter-final. Secondly, if MI manage to get the better of Ashwin's KXIP tomorrow (16th May), the road ahead for Kohli's men would become even clearer.
If the above scenario plays out and RCB defeat SRH and then RR in the virtual quarterfinal, they will have 14 points and a healthy NRR, which will see them through to the Eliminator in Kolkata on 23rd May.
However, if KKR and KXIP win both of their remaining two matches, RCB won't qualify even if they win both their remaining encounters.
If RCB lose one match
However, if Bangalore face defeat in one of their matches (against SRH), the only way they can qualify for the playoffs is by hoping that KKR win both their remaining matches while KXIP and RR (one against RCB) lose them both. Mumbai will have to defeat KXIP and lose against DD in that case.
In that case, RCB, MI, RR and KXIP will have 12 points, while KKR will seal the third spot with 16 points. Now the team with the best net run rate and 12 points will somehow manage to hold on to the fourth place and qualify for the playoffs.
If this scenario plays out then Kohli and his men will have to ensure that they finish with the best NRR among the four teams who will have 12 points at the end of all of it.
Note: This same scenario can work out for MI as well if they lose one of their remaining two matches.