On most other IPL seasons, the last few as we all have witnessed the scenarios would have been completely opposite. But in the year that is 2020, Chennai Super Kings stand on brink of elimination, while their opponent for Sunday's (October 25) first double-header, Royal Challengers Bangalore, sit third in the points table and are on the brink of making their first playoffs since 2016.
Chennai may have conceded that the season is over with the skipper already looking ahead for their next season, but are still mathematically in the race to make it to the playoffs. Wins in the next three games - against RCB, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab - will leave them with 12 points. But with that, they need to ensure that the teams competing for the fourth spot in the points table lose their remaining games.
The top three in the points table - Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and RCB - seem to have distanced themselves from the remaining five and only stand a few wins away from making it to the knockouts. The next four places stand as following - KKR (12 points), KXIP (10 points), SRH (8 points) and RRR (8 points).
Off these teams, KKR have already managed 12 points after their clinical 59-run win against Delhi Capitals in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. They also have a superior NRR of -0.476 compared to Chennai's -0.733. CSK hence need not just win their remaining three, the victories should come by huge margins while also ensuring that KKR lose their remaining three games.
Kings XI stand fifth in the table with 10 points after their 13-run win against SRH on Saturday night in Dubai, while the latter stand sixth with eight points, followed by Rajasthan Royals with as many in their kitty. CSK need to ensure that SRH lose their remaining three games while KXIP and RR afford only one more win.
If they lose on Sunday evening, against RCB, it will be officially 'the end of an era' for Dhoni's CSK.
How well do RCBls chances look?
A strong batting order including an in-form AB de Villiers and a threatening bowling lineup comprising Yuzvendra Chahal and Chris Morris make RCB a likely franchise for the summit clash, let alone the playoffs. They presently stand third with 14 points from 10 games. They need two win at least two more to qualify for the playoffs while a strong NRR will ensure them a top-two finish. A win against CSK will take them to the top of the table with 16 points.