The 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League is entering into its business end now as we have already come past 37 matches. Two teams -- Rajasthan and Chennai-- have already played 10 out of their respective quota of 14 games whereas all of the other teams have played nine games thus far. At the moment, the playoff berths look secure only for Delhi and Mumbai.
Delhi already have 14 points to their name after nine games and another win in their next five games will more or less ensure a playoff spot for them. Mumbai, on the other hand, have 12 points to their name after the same number of matches as Delhi and they will need at least two more wins to ensure a top two finish. Moreover, their net run rate (NRR) of +1.201 is the highest among all teams so far and that gives them an added advantage.
The last two playoff spots are up for grabs for pretty much all teams now. Bangalore and Kolkata are occupying the third and fourth spot currently with 12 and 10 points respectively and their NRR isn't something that can't be overtaken by other teams. In fact, Kolkata's NRR of -0.607 is the lowest among all teams in the league right now. As far as Bangalore's NRR of -0.096 is considered, it is slightly lesser than that of Hyderabad (+0.008) who are placed at the sixth spot. So the battle for the last two spots is still pretty much on for six teams and here we take a look at how the situations might pan out for each of them in the course of the next 19 matches.
Matches remaining vs: Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi
The requirement is quite simple for Bangalore at the moment -- be disciplined and get two wins in the remaining five matches. They have a decent NRR as well and two more wins, even by the narrowest margins might help them finish inside the top four or even top two. Out of their five opponents in the forthcoming matches, Bangalore have already beaten four of them in the reverse fixtures. So they will have confidence on their side while taking them on.
Matches remaining vs: Bangalore, Delhi, Punjab, Chennai, Rajasthan
The thing Kolkata need to worry about is their NRR. Not only do they need at least a couple of wins in the next five matches, but they need to ensure that their victories are by big margins as well. If they aren't confident of big victories, they have to ensure that they at least win three more games somehow in the remaining five to ensure a playoff berth. Otherwise they might have to narrowly lose out on competing in the playoffs, just like they did last year.
Matches remaining vs: Hyderabad, Mumbai, Punjab, Kolkata
After winning their first two matches of the season, Rajasthan have gone on to win only two of their next eight games. That sees them placed at fifth in the table with a NRR of -0.591 -- the second worst among all teams in this season. However, things look like falling into place at the right time for them. They completed their double over Chennai this season in the previous match. Rajasthan now have eight points to their name after 10 games and that means either they have to win all of their games to be absolutely safe for a playoff berth or win at least three matches by big margins to ensure a significant improvement in NRR. The task seems tough but Rajasthan have the ability to turn their fortunes around.
Matches remaining vs: Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai
Hyderabad have had their problems this season. The top order of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow hasn't been at their best whereas an inexperienced middle-order has only made the job tougher for them. To add to that, injury to their lead pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has only aggravated matters for them. Things don't end there as Kane Williamson picked up an injury in the previous match as well and his availability remains unclear at the moment. They have six points to their name right now and have a good NRR as well, but they need to win at least four out of their remaining five matches to ensure a safe passage into the playoffs. But the task is going to be very difficult as they face two of the best teams in this season -- Mumbai and Delhi -- in the course of the upcoming five matches.
Matches remaining vs: Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Chennai
Punjab looked down and out of the season a week back but they have started hitting the right strides, with victories in their last two matches. Their NRR of -0.262 still demands improvement but they have six points to their name now and more importantly, a shot at the playoffs. The good thing for them is that they are facing only one of the top two teams, Delhi, in their remaining five matches. And on top of that, Delhi isn't at their full strength either as they are missing two of their main batsmen in Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer. The remaining four matches are versus teams Punjab are fighting with for their playoff berth. A win against each of them or at least three victories by big margins can help Punjab in entering the playoffs.
Matches remaining vs: Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Punjab
Chennai are having their worst season in the history of the Indian T20 League and that is summed up by their position right at the bottom of the table. After 10 matches, they have managed to accumulate only six points and a poor NRR of -0.463 means that they have no way of making it to the playoffs other than winning all of their remaining four matches. That seems to be quite an arduous task considering how their players have fared so far and the teams they are going to face in the forthcoming matches.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Chennai