Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore have qualified for the IPL playoffs that start October 10, but the contest is wide open for deciding the fourth team.
The fight is between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, who will play their last respective group matches on Thursday (October 7) and Friday (October 8) respectively.
Kolkata Knight Riders have done well so far, having won four of the six matches played in the second half of IPL, which is happening in Dubai. In fact, the Eoin Morgan-led team strengthened its chances of qualifying after a resounding win over Sunrisers Hyderabad recently. KKR have played 13 matches so far and have 12 points on board. The team’s net run-rate is +0.294.
Mumbai Indians too are progressing steadily after a bad start in Dubai. Rohit Sharma’s men scored a win over Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday (October 5) to score 12 points in the tournament – the same as Kolkata. Mumbai Indians, however, have a disadvantage in terms of its run-rate, i.e. -0.048.
As things stand today, Kolkata Knight Riders have to win the game against Rajasthan Royals to book a place in the playoffs. So, assuming Mumbai too win their last match, the two teams will be tied at 14 points each. Kolkata may ride past though because of a better run rate.
Rajasthan Royals may not be an easy side to beat for Kolkata. The match will be played in Sharjah, which has a tricky pitch. The Kolkata Knight Riders have an advantage in the sense that they played only one match on this ground, which was against Delhi Capitals, and won it.
Mumbai Indians had a bad start to the remainder of IPL, winning just one of the five matches played in the UAE. On Tuesday, the defending IPL champs gave a superlative performance, beating Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets with 70 balls to spare. They need to win their last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad with a good margin and hope KKR lose against Rajasthan Royals.
If KKR win, then the tournament is as good as over for the Mumbai side. Even if Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals win their last matches and Kolkata and Mumbai both lose, then too Kolkata advance to playoffs on the basis of a better run rate.