IPL 2018: 4 ways how RCB can still qualify to the Playoffs

Can Kohli and McCullum find a way for RCB to qualify for play-offs?
 

The last week of the IPL has thrown many different scenarios. Teams like KXIP who were looking all set to secure a playoff berth have had a bumpy campaign and are back in the mix with other teams. On the other hand, franchises like MI and RCB who looked to be practically out of the tournament have made a resounding comeback towards the business end of the tournament.

When RCB lost the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, it looked as if they were already out of the tournament.  However, RCB have fought back with to win both their last two matches against DD and KXIP by 5 wickets and 10 wickets respectively. Especially, the way they thumped Punjab by 10 wickets, helped the Virat Kohli led side to make a statement.

Fresh off their victory, RCB are now back in contention for the playoffs. However, the ways through which that can happen are a bit complex and demand an in-depth explanation. So, let’s try and understand 4 ways by which RCB can still qualify to the Playoffs.

MI’s loss, RCB’s gain

Both RR and KXIP are with 12 points each, while RCB and MI have 10 points each. KKR’s victory over RR has given them a huge advantage and they have good chances of making it through. The other team that can give KKR a tough fight is KXIP as both teams can still reach 16 points.

With SRH and CSK already through, this leaves one spot remaining. It is very likely that a team with 14 points would be slotted at the 4th spot and sneak in to the playoffs. Two teams who are in the hunt for this spot are MI and RCB. Both teams currently have 10 points each and need to win both their games to have a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage.

As both teams are not scheduled to play each other in the remaining games of the league stage, they would have to depend on other teams to win it for them. RCB would expect that MI get eliminated so that they have better chances of making it to the 4th spot.

If KXIP defeat MI in their upcoming match, MI would be eliminated from the tournament. This would make things a lot easier for RCB. Likewise, if MI lose against DD at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday, RCB would then have a clear advantage. This would then mean that Bangalore would be the most likely team to qualify on 14 points.

Indirect benefits

As per the current scenario, 5 teams are fighting it out for the remaining two playoff berths. SRH and CSK have 18 and 16 points respectively are have already qualified to the playoffs. They can now afford to sit and watch other teams trying their best to make it through.

This makes all teams interdependent on each other. For instance, if KKR lose their match against SRH in Hyderabad on Saturday, RCB would gain from that. Similarly, if CSK manage to get the better of KXIP in Pune on Sunday, chances will then become brighter for RCB.

The Net Run Rate (NRR) game

RCB’s humongous 10-wicket win over KXIP came as huge boost for the franchise. The fact that they were able to wrap up Punjab before the end of the stipulated overs for a mere 88 and return to chase down the target in 8 overs, has done wonders to their overall position.

Before the fixture against KXIP, RCB were lagging behind with negative points on the NRR. However, their margin of victory ensured that their NRR becomes positive.

Bangalore have now become the only team other than MI to sport a positive NRR in the bottom half of the points table.

Rain

Another scenario is of a potential washout due to rain. The weather in India has been a little erratic over the past week with windstorms in Delhi and Pune. If rain decides to play spoilsport, that would open another Pandora’s Box.

It would then bring in a plethora of permutations and combinations which would give a team with 13 points the slimmest of chances to seal a playoff berth.

Also, it has been raining for the last 2 days in Bangalore. RCB's next game is scheduled at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore against SRH. God forbid, if this match is washed out due to rain and RCB manage to win their last game, they would end up on 13 points.

Although practically, it would then become next to impossible for RCB but mathematically they can still sneak in to the playoffs. The least they would need then is a stellar net run rate apart from depending on the mercy of other teams.

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