Sweet 16 has always been in the talk. In phrases, in fun talks or even in serious discussions sweet 16 is always adored. Even in IPL 2011 every team wants to turn sweet 16, to ensure there entry to Knock out phase. Yet, after 51 matches gone, and just 19 more matches left at group stage, only Mumbai Indians have touched 16, while 6 more are aspiring to touch it. Is it competition at best!!
Teams Who Are Set for Knockout
Mumbai Indians already have 16 points and are set to top the points table. with 4 more games to play. Kolkata Knight Riders need a win more to earn the 2 most valuable points to turn 16. They need one win in 3 games. Royal Challengers Bangalore has 13 points from 10 games. With 4 more games remaining they are also almost certain of earning 3 more points. That leaves one slot for the remaining teams.
Top Contenders for 4th spot
Defending champion Chennai Super Kings and 2008 Champion Rajasthan Royals have the best chance for the 4th spot. CSK has 12 points, while RR has 11 points. CSK needs 2 wins from remaining 4 matches, while RR must win minimum 3 from the same number of matches left. They can afford to lose one more game. Effectively that means the loser and winner of the match at Jaipur (Match 52 CSK vs RR) can also touch sweet 16.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Kings XI are also in the race. The Tuskers need 6 points and they have 3 matches left. Effectively it means they are in a must-win situation in remaining three games. Kings XI has played the least number of games and are placed at the bottom with just 6 points so far. They are also in must-win situation in remaining 5 games to touch 16. Not impossible, considering in 2010 Deccan Chargers won their must-win last 5 games to enter the semifinals.
2008 and 2009 semifinalists, Delhi Daredevils, 2009 winner Deccan Chargers and new comer Pune Warriors can not turn 16 in 2011. All of them have just 6 points from 10 matches. Even if they win remaining 4 matches, they can reach 14 points only.
Is Turning 16 More or Enough!!
Considering the current situation and the performances of the team, it does appear that more than 4 teams can reach 16. In that scenario just turning 16 will not be enough. Teams like KKR and CSK may need to reach 18 too, as RCB and RR have the chance to earn odd number of points, due to their abandoned match, and both can easily reach 17 points. Ironically even if both reach 17 points, the team with better net run rate will gain 4th spot.
What if someone Fails to Kiss 16!!
The tough competition can make some believe that every team cannot gain as easy entry to knockout as MI had. In that situation assuming that there may be some unexpected results against KKR, RCB, CSK and RR that restricts two of them to just 14 points, then remaining teams can dream of making it to knockout based on net run rate, even if they score just 14 points.