Sunday’s loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore punched a big hole in Punjab Kings’ hopes of qualifying for the playoffs. KL Rahul’s side had matters in their own hands going into that game against RCB, and a win in their remaining two games would have been good enough to put them to 14 points which would have had them a shoe in for qualification.
However, now they can get to just 12 points due to that defeat, and now need some good fortune from the rest of the franchises to qualify for the playoffs. Punjab Kings can still finish in fourth place if they manage to win their final group game against Chennai Super Kings, and have other results go in their favour.
Route to the playoffs
Punjab Kings need to win their final group game on Thursday against Chennai Super Kings. If they don’t win, they will be stuck on 10 points and will automatically be out of contention. Apart from winning their final match, KL Rahul’s team need to 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 lose their final group game. With the teams playing amidst each other in the coming days, the ideal set of results for PBKS would be Mumbai to win against Rajasthan Royals but lose to SRH, RR to lose against Mumbai Indians but win against KKR.
If this scenario were to present itself, we would have four teams tied on 12 points, meaning the qualification would get down to net run rate.
A tale of 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 that 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 due to better net run rate.
Punjab Kings therefore need to 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 Thursday. They would hope to get one past CSK and put in a spirited performance.
All’s not lost yet for Punjab Kings and their fans. After all, stranger things have happened in the world of sport, haven’t they?