However, the remaining 11 league stage matches, including the one between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians at Wankhede on Monday can throw up a different pattern.
Here’s a look at the team’s chances:
Chennai Super Kings MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings are enjoying an extended run at the top of the table, with 20 points from 10 wins from 14 matches. Their last two fixtures are against Delhi Daredevils at home and Royal Challengers Bangalore away.
Wins in both these games will enable them to go through as the top team of the table but losses could prove to be tricky. If the Sunrisers Hyderabad pull of victories in their remaining three games, and Mumbai Indians win two out of three, both these teams will finish two points ahead of Chennai. If Rahul Dravid’s Rajasthan Royals also manage to pull off a couple of victories, there will be a tie for the third and fourth place with Chennai, Rajasthan and Bangalore on 20 points. Net Run Rate will come into play and one of the three sides will miss the bus.
For Dhoni to help his side go into the playoffs as the number one team on the points table for the first time, he will have to ensure two wins from the remaining two matches.
Dravid-led Rajasthan Royals, with a thumping victory over Chennai, have usurped the second spot on the points table but haven’t cemented their playoff berth yet.
In a scenario where the Sunrisers win all their remaining matches, Mumbai Indians bag two victories in three games and Chennai get the better of lacklustre Delhi Daredevils, there will be three teams tied at 22. Further, Royals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore could be in a tussle for the fourth spot if the former loses all its matches and the latter pull of victories. In such a case, both teams will be on 20 with their fate being decided based on NRR. It looks likely that two losses will push Rajasthan below Bangalore. To keep things simple, like they have in the tournament so far, one win should guarantee them a place in the top four. Also, if certain results go their way, (Royal Challengers losing both their remaining fixtures) even 20 points will be enough for them to go through.
Mumbai Indians play two of their remaining three matches at home where they are yet to be beaten. The home factor could help them look to end the group stages with a strong top two finish. They face the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals at home and travel to Dharamsala to play Kings XI Punjab. If things go horribly wrong from here and they end up losing all the three matches, they will remain on 18 points and will depend on results of other games to make it to the playoffs. For them to go through without bringing NRR into play despite losing all their fixtures, they will need Bangalore to lose their last two matches and reaming on 16 points.
If Mumbai pull off three wins, they will surely finish in the top two given their Net Run Rate which, at the moment, is very good.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad are currently at the fifth spot on the points table but are still hopeful of a chance to enter the playoffs. They are currently tied with Bangalore on points with an extra game in hand. Their remaining matches include Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium. A win on Monday over Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians will help them nudge Bangalore for the fourth spot with 18 points. With the cushion of an extra game, even a loss will keep their hopes alive.
If the Sunrisers manage to win all their games, a top four spot will definitely be confirmed. However, two wins from three matches could lead to a situation where five teams could be on same number of points. In such a situation, the Hyderabad side is most likely to miss the bus as they have the worst NRR currently.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore are currently at the fourth spot but have played one more game than Sunrisers who sit at the fifth place. Virat Kohli’s side have two fixtures to go — against Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings — at home.
The loss against the Kolkata Knight Riders have pegged them back a little but a strong net run rate keeps them in the fray even in the worst case scenario. If they go on to lose both their games, they will hope for the Sunrisers Hyderabad to lose two out of their three fixtures so that they can make it through to the playoffs on superior NRR.
Two wins will boost their chances as they will be on 20 points. Even if multiple teams are tied at 20, Bangalore might trump them based on Net Run Rate.
Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders
These are two sides who are seeking an outside chance to make a backdoor entry into the top four. For that to happen, a lot will depend on the results of the games in which they don’t even feature. For starters, they will have to win all their remaining fixtures to remain in the race. As for KXIP, they will move to 16 points with wins in their remaining fixtures and hope for the Sunrisers and Royal Challengers to lose all their remaining matches.
That will enable them to go through as the fourth team. Gautam Gambhir’s side will look to win their matches and hope for KXIP to do the same, with neither of Sunrisers or Royal Challengers winning a single game. If all of this happens, they could be fighting for the fourth spot with 16 points.