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Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is reaching the business end and each and every match will assume great importance over the next week as the race for the play-offs has heated up. Chennai Super Kings became the first side on Thursday to qualify for play-offs when they defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad in Sharjah by 6 wickets.

MS Dhoni hit the winning six as CSK, who were the first team to be eliminated from the race last year, booked their place in the final four. CSK are on top of the points table with 9 wins from 11 matches. 18 points is enough at the moment to be assured of a place in the play-offs.

Delhi Capitals, who are the 2nd spot on the IPL 2021 points table, with 16 points from 11 matches are well-placed to join CSK in the play-offs. Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore are away from the crowded mid-table with 14 points from 11 matches.

Kolkata Knight Riders, who have 10 points from 11 matches, complete the top 4 as of October 1, 2021.

Meanwhile, Sunrisers Hyderabad became the first team to be eliminated from the play-offs race on Thursday as they suffered their 9th defeat in 11 matches. The former champions failed to qualify for the play-offs for the first time since 2015.

Indiatoday.in takes a look at how the remaining teams can make it to the play-offs from hereon.

Indiatoday.in takes a look at how the remaining teams can make it to the play-offs from hereon.IPL 2021 points table – As of October 1 after SRH vs CSK match

Chennai Super Kings – qualified with 18 points

Played – 11, won 9 and lost 2

Upcoming matches: RR on October 2, DC on October 4, PBKS on October 7

CSK will now be hoping to seal a finish in the top 2. They will be assured of a spot in the top 2 if they win two more. Even one win in their remaining 3 matches can help them do so, provided RCB or DC don’t get to 20 points with a better Net Run Rate than CSK.

Delhi Capitals – 2nd with 16 points

Played 11, won 8, lost 3

Upcoming fixtures: MI on October 2, CSK on October 4, RCB on October 8

Delhi Capitals need only one win in their remaining three matches to confirm their place in the play-offs. Similarly, they need 2 more wins to be assured of a place in the top 2. If they can beat RCB, their chances of finishing among the top 2 will brighten.

Delhi might even qualify without winning any of their next 3 matches. If KKR or MI lost one of their next three matches, DC will seal the qualification.

Royal Challengers Bangalore – 3rd with 14 points

Played 11, Won 7, Lost 4

Upcoming matches: PBKS on October 3, SRH on October 6, DC on October 8

Royal Challengers Bangalore improved their chances of reaching the play-offs after two back-to-back wins — over Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals after beginning the UAE leg slowly with two successive losses.

RCB need 2 more wins to be assured of a spot in the play-offs. They can go through with just one more win also but it will depend on Net Run Rate if MI and KKR get to 16 points as well.

Kolkata Knight Riders – 4th with 10 points

Played 11, Won 5, Lost 6

Upcoming matches: PBKS on October 1, SRH on October 3, RR on October 7

Kolkata Knight Riders are well-placed to reach the play-offs after an inspiring run in the UAE where they have won 3 out of their 4 matches.

They are in a tussle for the fourth spot with Mumbai Indians who are also tied on 10 points with an inferior net run rate.

KKR’s match against PBKS on October 1 will hold significance as a win will all but eliminate KL Rahul’s men from the play-offs race.

KKR need to win all their remaining 3 matches to qualify for the play-offs if Mumbai Indians also win all their next 3 matches.

They can qualify with 2 more wins as well but it will depend on how MI, Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings fare in their remaining matches.

Mumbai Indians – 5th with 10 points

Played 11, Won 5, Lost 6

Upcoming matches: DC on October 2, RR on October 5, SRH on October 8

Mumbai Indians have an inferior net run rate when compared to Kolkata Knight Riders. If KKR end up winning all their next 3 matches, MI need to win their remaining 3 by better margins to boost their Net Run Rate.

Both KKR and MI can qualify if RCB lose all their remaining matches and these two sides win their remaining matches.

MI’s chances of reaching the play-offs by winning only 2 of their next 3 matches look bleak.

Punjab Kings – 6th with 8 points

Played 11, Won 4, Lost 7

Upcoming matches – KKR on October 1, RCB on October 3, CSK on October 7

Punjab Kings cannot afford to lose a match from hereon. A win against KKR on Friday will put them in a good spot but even if they win all their 3 remaining matches, they don’t have their fate in their own hands.

PBKS will have to win all their remaining 3 matches and hope KKR or MI lose more than one match to seal a berth in the play-offs.

PBKS, RCB, MI and KKR can finish with 14 points each and the Net Run Rate will come in play in such a scenario.

Rajasthan Royals – 7th with 8 points

Played 11, Won 4, Lost 7

Upcoming matches – CSK on October 2, MI on October 5, KKR on October 7

Rajasthan Royals are at the 7th spot but their chances of reaching the play-offs are far from over. They need to win their next 3 matches to keep their hopes alive.

A lot will depend on how MI, KKR and PBKS play in the remaining games. A win against MI and KKR is a must for RR as they look to close down the gap from the top.

A good victory against CSK on Saturday will set them up for better things in the last week of the league stages.

Once again, RR might end up tied on points with more than one team for the 4th spot. A better Net Run Rate will come in handy for Sanju Samon’s men

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