Royal Challengers Bangalore would have been glued to their television sets on Friday evening, following the fortunes of Sunrisers Hyderabad. They wouldn't have been feeling too good by the end of it, for Sunrisers' victory has made Royal Challengers' path to the playoffs harder. Royal Challengers are in a must-win situation against Chennai Super Kings at home on Saturday. If they achieve it, it will take them to 18 points and on par with Sunrisers. However, Sunrisers have one more game to play, on Sunday, and a win will take them to 20 and knock Royal Challengers out of the competition. Therefore, for Royal Challengers, they need to win, foremost, and then wait and watch.
For a side that was running on full steam till the start of May, it's bizarre that they find themselves in this situation. Two consecutive defeats, against Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, has turned their quest for the playoffs into a last-minute scramble. If losing to the struggling Knight Riders was disappointing enough, the manner of their defeat to Kings XI at home - their first loss in Bangalore - would have been harder to digest. Should Royal Challengers and Sunrisers be tied on points, the former have the safety net of a superior net run rate.
Super Kings are already through to the playoffs but currently sit behind table-leaders Mumbai Indians. Both teams will play their final league games on Saturday. Having finished in the top two, Super Kings and Mumbai will face each other in the first qualifier. Stephen Fleming, the Super Kings coach, hinted at fielding a few players who haven't been given an opportunity yet, before the playoffs.
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