A brief review of the IPL playoff qualification scenario that remains prior to today's RCB vs KXIP
Probably the closest fought IPL tournament so far, with at least four teams looking to occupy the third and fourth positions in the table.
With only nine league games left in the season, let us take a look at how the playoff qualification scenario will be affected by the result of today's game between Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Indore.
If Kings XI wins:
#1 RCB will be eliminated because the maximum they can get to will be 12 points. Sunrisers Hyderabad (18), Chennai Super Kings (16), Kings XI Punjab (14) and the winner of the game between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals (14) will be out of reach of RCB.
#2 Kings XI will not only strengthen their chances of qualifying for the playoffs but also have a shot at finishing in the top two, provided both CSK and SRH won't win at least one out of two games left, and KXIP wins both of their remaining games.
#3 Mumbai Indians will have to win their last two matches to stay in contention and even that may not be enough.
#4 Knight Riders and Royals will stay in contention.
If RCB wins:
#1 RCB's playoff hopes stay alive. If they win their remaining two games as well, their points go up to 14, and if other results go their way, RCB could even qualify without worrying about net-run-rate.
#2 Kings XI will also stay in contention of playoffs because they could still finish on 16 points by winning their last two games. Even 14 points may be enough if other results go their way.
#3 Sunrisers will be assured of a top-two finish because Super Kings will be the only team that could match or beat their present tally of 18 points.
#4 Mumbai could still go through if they finish on 12 points because of their strong net run rate.
In what is probably the closest fought IPL season to date, all eight teams had come up with visibly balanced teams. In most cases, it was solitary issues, like that of Mumbai's lack of batting depth due to over-dependence on Rohit Sharma who is yet to find his touch, DD's and RCB's death overs' bowling and so on, that has hampered the progress of some of these teams into the playoffs.
Teams like the Sunrisers and Super Kings have more-or-less ensured their qualification into the next level. As mentioned, nine matches remain and each of these matches is important for the remaining six teams.