New Delhi: It's all about numbers. Six of the eight teams in the ninth edition of Indian Premier League can still hope for a top-four finish, and take part in the play-offs, and thus a shot at the title.
Rising Pune Sunrisers and Kings XI Punjab are the two teams which have bowed out. But the table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad and pace-setter Kolkata Knight Riders and Gujarat Lions are still not guaranteed for a place in the play-offs.
Here's what each of these six teams need to qualify for the knock-out stage:
1. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Eight wins and a superior net run, and the Hyderabad-based franchise can hope to become the first confirmed outfit to qualify for the play-offs.
With two matches remaining in their fixture, Sunrisers Hyderabad sit in a comfortable position to be one of the top-four teams. But big loses in these two games could spell doom for them, which will force the ever unreliable and unfaithful net run-rate to apply in deciding the qualifiers.
Teams left to play: Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders
2. Kolkata Knight Riders
The two-time defending champions are likely to join Sunrisers Hyderabad as one of the top-four teams, but that's not guaranteed.
They have 14 points, two lesser than Sunrisers, with two games remaining in their fixture. If they lose both the matches, their chances of qualification come down to net run-rate.
That's where they hold an edge over other two teams with equal points — Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions, and also the chasing pack.
Teams left to play: Gujarat Lions, Sunrisers Hyderabad
3. Mumbai Indians
The defending champions have played 13 matches, and they need to beat Gujarat Lions. And by a big margin. Because, they have a negative net run-rate.
Considering how the two top teams — Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders — will benefit from positive run-rate, Mumbai Indians just can't afford to slip up.
Team left to play: Gujarat Lions
4. Gujarat Lions
Despite being one of the two new teams competing this season, Gujarat Lions have managed to become the pace-setters, and indeed won accolades for playing fearlessly.
Probably, that's where the Lions have lost the steam and are now in the fourth place. It's a not a bad situation to be in though, but the manner is which the teams are fighting for a last-four spot, they will need much more than winning accolades.
They need to win both the remaining matches. No ifs and buts, and hope for other factors. It;s cricket, after all. Some drama, that's we all need.
Teams left to play: Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians
5. Delhi Daredevils
The traditional under-achievers of the league, Delhi Daredevils lead the chasing pack. With 12 points and two matches remaining in their fixtures, what they need to do is win both the games.
Teams left to play: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore
6. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Like Daredevils' case, Royal Challengers Bangalore also need to win both the remaining teams. It's lot more simpler for these chasers. They need to win.
Teams left to play: Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils