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May 18, 2012 at 04:48pm IST

IPL playoffs: What teams need to do

Thursday was a significant day for the IPL 5 points table. The two big gainers were Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore, while the team who will be most worried is the IPL defending champions Chennai Super Kings.

Chennai's defeat to Punjab in Dharamsala has left the defending champions' chances of reaching the playoffs in jeopardy, and given that they have no more matches to play CSK will have to rely on the fate of their competitors. They will hope that Bangalore, Punjab and Mumbai Indians lose their final matches, and that Rajasthan Royals lose just one of their last two.

Punjab – who knocked off a low target thanks to skipper Adam Gilchrist's busy half-century on return after a long injury absence – now sit on 16 points with one match to play and occupy sixth spot on the points table. Victory over CSK has kept them alive in the competition, but they face a stiff task against Delhi Daredevils in Dharamsala on Saturday.

IPL playoffs: What teams need to do

Chennai Super Kings's hopes hang on a string, while Royal Challengers Bangalore chase victory to qualify.

Bangalore's 21-run win over Delhi on Thursday has kept their chances of reaching the playoffs alive. They needed to beat Delhi to drawl level with Chennai on 17 points, and by doing so they have moved one point ahead of Punjab and three ahead of Rajasthan. A win over Deccan Chargers will ensure their progression, and if they lose Bangalore can still make it to the next stage.

Mumbai have one more game to play as well, against Rajasthan on May 20, and should they emerge victorious they will move to 20 points and reach the next round. Should Mumbai lose, they will remain on 18 points. If Punjab win their final match and Rajasthan win their remaining two matches, then three teams will be on 18 points. This is where Mumbai could suffer because of a poorer net run rate, especially against Rajasthan whose net run rate is much higher. Mumbai will know exactly what is required to go through when they face Rajasthan in Jaipur.

The final team in content_cnion is Rajasthan, who need to win their last two games as they have 14 points from 14 games. They are favorites to beat Deccan and should they do so they will then need to beat Mumbai on Sunday to get to 18 points and remain on content_cnion for a playoff berth. Should they beat Mumbai and Punjab lose to Delhi, Rajasthan could move into the playoffs ahead because of a better net run rate.

Delhi have already secured a spot in the final four and will look to win their final match to secure the top spot, which ensures them a shot at making the final should they lose in the Qualifier. Kolkata Knight Riders' victory over Mumbai made them the second team to qualify for the playoffs, and they are currently at second place on the points table with 19. If Kolkata beat Pune Warriors India on Saturday, and Delhi lose in Dharamsala, then they will move to No. 1.

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