The heat is well and truly on in the IPL. Two sides- CSK and DC- have already qualified for the playoffs and the tussle is on the other sides- SRH, KXIP, MI, KKR, to make it to the final-4.
After a washout against the Rajasthan Royals, Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore became the first team to get eliminated from the IPL.
Here are the qualification scenarios of all sides in the 2019 IPL-
Chennai Super Kings- 16 points from 12 matches
They may have looked vulnerable at times- especially in the absence of Dhoni- but the charismatic leadership of Thala MS Dhoni has enabled the Whistle Podu gang to make it a perfect-10 as far as entering into the playoffs is concerned.
The defending champions, Chennai Super Kings were the first team to qualify into the playoffs of the 2019 edition. With 16 points in 12 games, the only question that remains as far as Chennai is concerned is whether they can finish in the top-2.
Finishing in the top-2 will not only give Dhoni and his side two opportunities to claim a spot in the IPL final in case of a blip in the 1st Qualifier but also a chance to seal the final berth in front of their home crowd.
Their remaining fixtures- against DC and RR- give them a chance to confirm their position in the top-2. In an ideal scenario, CSK would like to win both of their remaining league games to seal the spot, but they can qualify even if they win one game or none, of other results, go their way.
Delhi Capitals- 16 points from 12 points
From being the whipping boys of the IPL in the past six years courtsey insipid selections, bizarre tactics, inconsistent form and off-course the name change from Daredevils to Capitals' to being the second team to qualify for the playoffs in the 2019 season, the franchise from Delhi have come a really long way.
One of the things that Capitals did right in last years' auction was they built the side with an eye on the future. They invested in youngsters like Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer and this year balanced it out with seasoned campaigners like Kagiso Rabada and Shikhar Dhawan.
With 16 points in 12 games, the results are for all of us to see and a top-2 finish beckons for the revamped franchise.
Sunrisers Hyderabad- 12 points from 12 games
David Warner final heist- 81 off 56 balls- in this years' IPL before he left to start his World Cup preparations, propped his side to a crucial 45-run win over Kings XI Punjab. Warner, 692 runs, continued his whirlwind form in this years' IPL as well confirming his status as one of the all-time greats to have ever graced IPL cricket. The left-hander scored in excess of 600 runs for the third time running and ensured SRH are in a good position to reach the playoffs.
SRH's last two fixtures are away from home against Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. They will have their playoff spot confirmed if they can win both the games but even if the Orange Army can win one out of the two remaining games, they will be more two or more teams with 12 points and NRR will come into play. With Hyderabad having a superior NRR [0.709], they will qualify on the back of a superior run-rate.
Mumbai Indians- 14 points from 12 games
They might have gone down to KKR in the last game but with 14 points from 12 games, the three-time champions are well placed when it comes to reaching the playoffs.
Mumbai's last two fixtures are against SRH and the Knight Riders'. If they can win both of their remaining fixtures, it will leave them well-placed for finishing in the top-2. The three-time champions can even qualify with 14 points, provided all the other results go their way.
Kings XI Punjab- 10 points from 12 games
Two back-to-back defeats- against RCB and SRH- have severely dented Kings XI Punjab's chances of qualifying for the playoffs. Like last year, the mid-season muddle has resulted in a complete loss of momentum for the Ashwin-led franchise. They can get eliminated even if they win both their remaining games [against KKR & CSK] if SRH win their last two remaining games and Mumbai bet the Knight Riders.
Even if KXIP win both their games and MI lose their remaining games followed by SRH losing to RCB, Punjab's NRR [-0.296] could come back to haunt them. If KXIP ends up at 12 points and SRH, RR & KKR lose their remaining encounters, again the NRRA scenario might not help much.
Kolkata Knight Riders- 10 points from 12 games
The Knight Riders' finally broke their six-match losing streak an kept their hopes alive of making it to the playoffs. KKR's last two games are against KXIP and the Mumbai Indians. If they win remaining two games, they would get to 14 points and would be tied with two or more teams with the NRR coming into play.
However, if SRH loses to MI and RCB and RR goes down to either RCB or DC, the Knight Riders' can qualify without the NRR coming into play.
Rajasthan Royals- 11 points from 13 games
The team that will be the most disappointed with the washout at the Chinnaswamy is the Rajasthan Royals. With 10 points from 12 games, the Royals' needed to win both games while hoping for some other results to go their way to have any chance of making it to the playoffs.
At 1-44, they were on course to win the match against RCB but with rain having the final say, Smith and his side had to contend with a solitary point. With a solitary game to go [against DC on May 4th], the Royals chances of making it the playoffs hinge on a tight rope. Apart from a big win that will boost their net run-rate, they would have to hope for plenty of other results to go their way.