Mumbai Indians needed a big win to keep their playoff hopes alive and they delivered just that on Tuesday. A comprehensive 8 wicket win vs Rajasthan, after the Royals were restricted to just 90-9 helped MI climb to fifth place on the points table, just behind KKR on NRR. MI chased down the small target with as many as 70 balls remaining.
With PBKS and RR on 10 points, with one game left to play each, the best these two teams can do in terms of points is get to 12. MI and KKR however can both get to 14 points each. KKR enjoys the best NRR among all these teams. The race for the fourth playoff spot has now effectively boiled down to one between KKR and MI.KKR play their last match vs RR on Thursday, while MI play their 14th league stage match vs SRH on Friday.
1) On the table, KKR are still ahead of the others contending for the fourth slot. If they win their last game against RR and SRH beat MI, KKR will occupy that slot exclusively. They can tie for fourth even if they don’t beat RR, if SRH beats MI. How many teams they tie with in that case will depend on the result of the game between CSK and PBKS. If CSK wins that, it will be a three-way tie on 12 points between KKR, MI and RR. If PBKS wins, it will also tie with these three on 12 points. The good news for KKR is that it has by far the best net run rate of these four teams and should qualify in any tied situation. If MI win against SRH, KKR must win its last game to tie for points
2)MI are now in fifth spot, equal with KKR but well behind on NRR. Since the gap is too much to be covered up, their only real chance of qualifying is to win the last game against SRH and hope KKR loses to RR. If KKR wins that game, MI can at best tie with them and that will almost certainly not be enough.
3)PBKS is in sixth spot, but the best it can hope for is a four-way tie for fourth spot on 12 points. That can happen only if MI loses to SRH and KKR loses to RR. But even in that situation, its NRR is unlikely to better KKR’s and therefore it may be curtains for them.
4)Like PBKS, RR can now at best tie for fourth spot on points. Again, that can only happen if they beat KKR and SRH beats MI. Their NRR currently is even worse than PBKS’s and MI’s, which means a tie is unlikely to be enough for them to qualify.
5)Effectively, the race is now down to KKR and MI, with KKR clearly having the edge.