The 2015 Indian Premier League is set for a thrilling finale to the group stage this weekend, with six teams still competing for the four playoff places. Incredibly only one, Chennai Super Kings is guaranteed to see more action, with the next five teams separated by just a single point. The final weekend then, when all eight teams will be in action, is set for drama aplenty.
Here’s a look at all the permutations for the four matchups.
Kings XI Punjab vs. Chennai Super Kings (Saturday, 6:30 a.m. EDT, Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali)
After topping the standings in 2014 and going onto finish runners-up overall, this has been a miserable season for Kings XI Punjab. They have won just three games in their first 13 and have long been out of the running to advance. Still there is the prospect for them to dampen the hopes of the team they beat in the playoffs last season. Chennai suffered a shock defeat to Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday in a match that could have seen them secure a top two spot to give them two bites of the cherry to make the final through the playoffs. They will be favorite to get the victory on Saturday to ensure that easier path, but they will have to improve on an away record that has seen them win just two of six matches on the road this season.
Rajasthan Royals vs. Kolkata Knight Riders (Saturday, 10:30 a.m. EDT, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai)
It all started so well for Rajasthan Royals thanks to five straight victories. However just one win since leaves them on the outside looking in going into the final round of matches, and for the second year running face narrowly missing out on the playoffs. But at least they have the comfort of knowing that a victory over Kolkata Knight Riders on the final day of the group phase will see them through thanks to the fact that the two teams level on 14 points with them, but ahead courtesy of having one more win, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, will be playing each other. That also means that a defeat for Kolkata could well see last year’s champions miss out.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Delhi Daredevils (Sunday, 6:30 a.m. EDT, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru)
Royal Challengers Bangalore come into their final group phase on the back of a crucial win over Sunrisers Hyderabad that has put them in a strong position to make the playoffs. In a rain-affected match on Friday, Royal Challengers triumphed in a thrilling run chase that was ultimately reduced to just six overs. Virat Kohli’s winning six means his team go into Sunday’s match sitting second in the points table and with the competition’s best run rate. And they will be confident going up against a Delhi Daredevils team that sits on 10 points and knows they will be playing their last match in this year’s IPL.
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Mumbai Indians (Sunday, 10:30 a.m. EDT, Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad)
Winner is likely to take all in this match with the loser definitely missing out on the playoffs. After learning that a calf injury would prevent Kevin Pietersen from joining the team for the closing stages of the IPL, Sunrisers suffered another blow when going down to Royal Challengers in dramatic fashion. It leaves them with no breathing room going into their hosting of Mumbai Indians. Only a minor difference in run rate separates Sunrisers in fourth from Mumbai in fifth going into what should be an enthralling finale. Both teams have recovered from poor starts to the competition to put themselves in position to go into the playoffs. Mumbai has won six of their last seven matches and recovered from defeat to Royal Challengers last Sunday to hold off the challenge of Knight Riders.
Points table (teams ties on points will be separated first by number of wins and then by run rate)
1. Chennai Super Kings/16 points/ 8 wins/+0.646 Net RR
2. Royal Challengers Bangalore/15 points/7 wins/+1.037 Net RR
3. Kolkata Knight Riders/15 points/7 wins/+0.315 Net RR
4. Sunrisers Hyderabad/ 14 points/7 wins/-0.033 RR
5. Mumbai Indians/14 points/7 wins/-0.259 Net RR
6. Rajasthan Royals/14 points/6 wins/+0.027 Net RR
7. Delhi Daredevils/10 points/5 wins/-0.049 Net RR
8. Kings XI Punjab/6 points/3 wins/-1.425 Net RR
TV channel: For viewers in the United States, Dish and Mediacom will offer pay-per-view coverage, with subscriptions available through your set-top box or contacting your provider.
Live streaming info: ESPN Cricket will provide live-streaming coverage of every match via a subscription that now costs $29.99.