With five teams up for contention in the Playoffs, almost every fixture in this season of Indian Premier League has become crucial. But when Kolkata Knight Riders host Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens on Saturday, things will be as close they can get. Both the teams currently have 12 points in 12 games, with KKR at the third position due to a higher Net Run Rate of -0.189. RR, though are not far behind and are sitting in the fourth position in the table with an NRR of -0.347. With Kings XI Punjab slipping to the 5th position in the table after the 10-wicket loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday, the Ravichandran Ashwin-led side will also have a keen interest in the match, as they are also sitting with 12 points after 12 games with an NRR of -0.518.
Here are all the scenarios that can happen in KKR vs RR match:
Kolkata Knight Riders win
Kolkata Knight Riders have had a really inconsistent season this year as they have managed to win only half their matches so far. After two consecutive defeats against Mumbai Indians, KKR returned to roaring form against KXIP in their previous match and hammered 245/6 in 20 overs. Hosting Rajasthan in their backyard, the Dinesh Karthik-led side will be hoping for a win and climb higher in the table on both points and Net Run Rate. With 14 points, KKR will be at the third position. But it will still not guarantee them a spot in the Playoffs. They need to win by a huge margin against RR, to ensure KXIP cannot reach them, even if they lose their final round robin match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. KKR’s victory will hurt the chances of all the other teams vying for a Playoff spot, as it would push them further ahead in the table, on both NRR and points, and make it difficult for them to catch up, with just a few games remaining.
Rajasthan Royals win
Rajasthan Royals have bounced back strongly in the competition with three straight wins- much gratitude to the England international Jos Buttler, who has completely taken the IPL 2018 by storm since he started to open for RR. In spite of 6 wins in 12 games, RR are still low on Net Run Rate, due to some heavy losses in the first half of the season. But with KXIP slipping badly against RCB on Tuesday, RR have rekindled their progress, and have climbed to the fourth position in the table. To ensure a spot in the Playoffs, RR need to win both their remaining matches and defeat KKR by a huge margin today. If RR win, they will climb to the third position and will increase their Net Run Rate. It might make things difficult for KXIP to catch up to them on NRR, and even tougher for MI and RCB, who are currently on 10 points in the table to reach up to RR.
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Match ends in a tie
If the match ended in a tie, then both teams will earn one point each and will have 13 points after 13 points. It will not affect their Net Run Rate much, and will keep KXIP and other teams still interested in catching up to both.