Three of the four playoffs spot in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 have been sealed by Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Delhi Capitals (DC) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), leaving a four-way battle for the fourth spot between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Punjab Kings (PBKS), Mumbai Indians (MI) and Rajasthan Royals (RR).
Here is the IPL 2021 points table:
|Position||Teams||M||W||L||Points||NRR||Qualified||Last 3 Matches|
|1||Delhi Capitals (Q)||13||10||3||20||+0.526||-||W W L|
|2||Chennai Super Kings (Q)||13||9||4||18||+0.739||-||L L W|
|3||Royal Challengers Bangalore (Q)||12||8||4||16||-0.157||-||W W W|
|4||Kolkata Knight Riders||13||6||7||12||+0.294||-||W L W|
|5||Punjab Kings||13||5||7||10||-0.241||-||L W L|
|6||Rajasthan Royals||12||5||7||10||-0.337||-||W L L|
|7||Mumbai Indians||12||5||7||10||-0.453||-||L W L|
|8||Sunrisers Hyderabad||12||2||10||4||-0.475||-||L L W|
Kolkata Knight Riders:
The win against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday has provided a bit of a cushion for the two-time IPL winners as they take their tally to 12 from 13 games, two points clear of three other teams who are tied at 10. And what adds to their relief is their superior NRR of +0.294, which almost certainly ensures their qualification for the fourth spot in the playoffs battle. Kolkata will now play their final league game against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Thursday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) earlier on Sunday left Punjab on thin ice, while Kolkata's win against Sunrisers added to their woe. Punjab now have one more game left in the league stage, against top-placed Chennai Super Kings on Thursday at the Dubai International Stadium, a win in which will leave them with 12 points, as many as KKR have amassed in 13 games, at a superior NRR. This leaves only a mathematical possibility for Punjab to make the knockouts with the condition that Rajasthan and Mumbai Indians lose both their remaining matches and they beat CSK by a massive margin.
Like Punjab, Kolkata's win has added to Mumbai's playoff qualification concern, who are placed seventh with a poor NRR of -0.453. They need to win their remaining two games - against Rajasthan and Sunrisers - by a huge margin to take their tally to 14 in the league stage and expect Kolkata to lose their final game which will leave the two-time winners with 12 points, leaving NRR to decide the fate.
Like Mumbai, they too need to win their remaining two games - against the defending champions and Kolkata - also by a big margin and expect KKR and MI to lose their remaining matches, leaving NRR to decide the fate.