The KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings side can still make it to the top-four in IPL 2021 if they win their final league game -- against Chennai Super Kings on October 7 -- by a big margin and hope the other results go their way.
Sunday's (October 3) loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore punched a big hole in Punjab Kings' hopes of qualifying for the playoffs. KL Rahul's side had things under control going into that game against Virat Kohli's side, and a win in their remaining two games would have been good enough to put them on 14 points, which would have put them in a good position to make the playoffs.
However, now they can only get to a maximum of 12 points and will then have to rely on other results to qualify for the playoffs. Apart from winning their final match, KL Rahul's side would hope that no other team gets past 12 points as well.
For that to happen, both Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals will need to win just one of their remaining two matches, while Kolkata Knight Riders will have to lose their final group game. For PBKS, the ideal set of results would be for Mumbai to win against Rajasthan Royals but lose to SRH, Rajasthan Royals to lose against Mumbai Indians but win against KKR.
If this scenario were to present itself, four teams would be tied on 12 points, meaning the qualification would get down to net run rate.
At the moment, Punjab Kings have a net run rate only bettered by Kolkata Knight Riders amongst the teams in contention for the last playoffs spot. If all teams end on 12 points, PBKS would finish in fifth position on the table as things stand, with Kolkata scraping through on better net run rate.
Punjab Kings therefore would hope for a big win over Chennai Super Kings in their final group game, or hope that KKR are beaten heavily by Rajasthan Royals in their final group game, so as to be able to leapfrog the 2014 champions on the points table.
Things aren't ideal for Punjab Kings heading into their final group game. Nevertheless, KL Rahul and his team would be keeping their hopes up come October 7. They would hope to get one past CSK by putting in a spirited performance.
All's not lost for Punjab Kings yet.