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It’s beyond qualification

With a little over a week to go for the knockouts, the IPL table bears a more settled looked as the current top-4 - the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders - look favorites to advance to the final four. Rohit Bhaskar reports.

cricket Updated: May 14, 2011 03:22 IST
Rohit Bhaskar

With a little over a week to go for the knockouts, the IPL table bears a more settled looked as the current top-4 - the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders - look favorites to advance to the final four.

However, with a change in the format for the knockouts, giving the top-two qualifiers two chances of making it to the summit clash, teams don't just want to qualify, they want to do so with a security blanket.

Amid the backdrop, neither the Royal Challengers Bangalore nor the Kolkata Knight Riders can afford to drop points when they lock horns at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/140511/14_05_11_pg22a.jpg

RCB's hopes have received a slight blow with two of their marquee players, skipper Daniel Vettori and Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan, being ruled out. While Vettori has gone back to New Zealand to consult his surgeon on a possible injury scare and could return in time for the knockouts, Dilshan has flown to England with the Sri Lanka squad and will take no further part in this season's IPL.

However, with the menacing form Chris Gayle is in, stand-in skipper Virat Kohli is not too worried.

Countering Gayle will be uppermost on KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir's mind.