Race to play-offs just got more exciting

Tuesday's game between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore will mark the conclusion of three-fourths of the league stage of the IPL V. And as the tournament is set to enter its last quarter, the points table wears an interesting look.

While two teams - Deccan Chargers and Pune Warriors India - have been eliminated from the playoffs, the Kolkata Knight Riders have virtually sealed a top-four finish.

While the Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians are close on the heels of the KKR, four others - Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings - can be optimistic of making the cut.

That means six teams are vying for the three remaining slots. No wonder then that despite the already long tournament becoming longer this year, there is every reason for the fans to remain glued to television sets over the next two weeks.

"I don't think we have reached that stage of the tournament yet where the net run rate needs will emerge as a huge factor," Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid said after his team's emphatic victory against the Warriors on Tuesday. "The tournament is still wide open."

Dravid agreed that the two games that were washed out could eventually play a huge role in the eventual top four of the season.  "Those two games have made the table even more interesting and I think we will require 18 points to be assured of a place in the playoffs."


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