The league phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is nearing its climax. Four teams will go to the playoffs phase, while the remaining four will go back home.
The all-important question now is this: Which are those teams that are heading back home?
The Present Situation
The IPL Points Table as on 30-4-2019 is given in the above picture. Most of the teams have completed 12 of the allotted 14 games, with some teams having completed 13 games. Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals are already through to the playoffs. They have 16 points from 12 games.
Royal Challengers Bangalore are already out. They have managed only 9 points from 13 matches. All the five remaining teams are jostling for the two remaining playoffs berths.
What are the chances of each of those teams?
Mumbai Indians are well-placed to stroll to the playoffs stage. They have 14 points from 12 games. Their remaining two matches are against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders, both at home.
They have a handy net run rate, and they are in excellent form as well. Barring a catastrophic meltdown, they are through.
Of the three remaining teams vying for the one likely vacant spot, Sunrisers are better placed to grab it. They have 12 points from 12 games. Their net run rate is the best in the league. They have a difficult fixture against Mumbai, but they are expected to win their final fixture, against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
So, it’s advantage Sunrisers.
Kings XI Punjab
They have 10 points from 12 games. The matches in hand are difficult ones too: against Chennai Super Kings and against the fellow play-offs hopefuls Kolkata Knight Riders. Even if they win all their matches, they may not qualify, especially if Sunrisers win all their matches and Mumbai Indians win one of their two matches.
Their best chance is to win their remaining two matches and hope that Sunrisers lose both their remaining matches. The chances of that happening are quite dim. Their net run rate is poor as well.
Kolkata Knight Riders
They have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in this year’s IPL. But a premature exit is staring at them. They are in the same situation as Kings XI, with 10 points from 12 games. They have an extremely difficult fixture with Mumbai Indians, against whom they have a poor head-to-head record.
They must win their other game: against Kings XI. If they play to their potential, they are good enough to register wins in both the games. If they win both their matches, and Sunrisers lose both their matches, they will be through.
Will that happen? It is possible, somewhat.
Their last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore was washed away, when they were in a winning position. They should count themselves unlucky. Now they have 11 games from 13 matches. Their remaining game is against Delhi Capitals, away from home.
If they win that match, they are in with a chance. If they are to qualify, Sunrisers must lose both their remaining games and Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab must lose at least one of their remaining fixtures.
The chances of that happening are rather slim. However, cricket has this habit of springing up miracles.