Scenarios – What should Royals, RCB, CSK and KKR do to make the playoffs?

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By Webdesk

Rajasthan Royals

12 played, Points 12, NRR 0.633
Brake mat: RCB (h), PBKS (a)

Rajasthan Royals returned to winning ways with a spectacular performance against Kolkata Knight Riders after five losses in their previous six games, but they have little room to relax. If they lose to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, the maximum points they can finish on is 14, which will keep them in their favor to qualify for the play-offs depending on several results.

While they can still get by with 14 without the help of net run rates (NRR), it’s also possible for five other teams to finish on 15 or more points, knocking out Royals. However, Royals have an excellent NRR of 0.633 – currently second only to that of Gujarat Titans – so that could come in handy when things get tight on points.

On the other hand, if they win both games, Royals will almost certainly qualify. That’s because their two games are against teams that also need to win all of their games to finish on 16. It is possible that Royals and Mumbai Indians will fight for fourth spot as Titans, Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants at over 16 but in that case Royals NRR will surely trump Mumbai Indians (they are currently on -0.117).

Royal Challengers Bangalore

11 played, points 10, NRR -0.345
Brake mat: RR (a), SRH (a), GT (h)
Royal Challengers are in a similar position to Royals in that they have to win all games to finish at 16, but there are a few crucial differences: they have to win three on the trot, not two; and their NRR languishes at -0.345.

If Royal Challengers lose on Sunday they will almost certainly be out, even if they win their last two and finish on 14 points. That’s because three teams – Titans, Super Kings, and at least one from Super Giants or Mumbai Indians – will finish on more than 14 points, and Royals’ NRR will see them placed higher as well.

Even if Royal Challengers win all three, it could still come down to NRRs as six teams – Titans, Super Kings, Super Giants, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers and Punjab Kings – could all finish on 16 or more points.

Super kings of Chennai

12 played, Points 15, NRR 0.493
Brake mat: KKR (h), DC (a)
A win against Knight Riders will see Chennai Super Kings enter the playoffs, but it will not yet confirm a top-two finish as Gujarat Titans, Mumbai Indians and Lucknow Super Giants can reach 17 or more points.

Even if they lose on Sunday, Super Kings will have another chance to get to 17 when they play their last game, against Delhi Capitals in Delhi on May 20. However, if they lose both games, they are at the mercy of different results as four teams can finish on 16 or more points.

Knight Riders of Kolkata

12 played, points 10, NRR -0.357
Brake mat: CSK (a), LSG (h)
Wins in their two remaining games take Knight Riders to 14, leaving them still dependent on other results. Their best case would be if Titans win their last two, Royal Challengers beat Royals and then lose their last two, Super Giants and Royals lose their last two, and Punjab Kings lose to Delhi Capitals in their second leg on Wednesday. Then Titans, Super Kings and Mumbai Indians qualify, leaving Knight Riders and Punjab Kings to fight for fourth place with 14 points. There isn’t much to choose between their NRRs at the moment (-0.357 for KKR and -0.268 for Punjab Kings), meaning Knight Riders still need to win big to increase their NRR.

S Rajesh is ESPNcricinfo’s stats editor. @rajeshstats

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