Five Indian Premier League sides remain in contention for the title as the tournament's home-and-away season enters its final weekend.
The race for the four playoff spots got even tighter on Friday when the already-eliminated Delhi Daredevils notched a consolation win over Rising Pune Supergiant.
That result kept the fifth-placed Kings XI Punjab's finals hopes alive, with four points separating the top-ranked Mumbai Indians and fifth-placed Kings XI Punjab.
IPL STANDINGS (AS OF MAY 13):
Along with Delhi, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions are also out of contention for a playoff spot.
Quick Single: Ricky Ponting's all-time IPL XI
Mumbai are the only side to have a secured a playoff berth, and look likely to have wrapped up a spot in the all-important top-two.
The pair of highest ranked teams at the conclusion of the home-and-away component of the competition get a second-chance in the playoffs, which get underway on Tuesday after the regular-season finishes on Sunday.
Quick Single: Remaining IPL fixtures
With plenty to play for, we take a look at what each of the five remaining contenders need to do to stay in the hunt for the IPL10 title.
Form guide (most recent first): LLWWW
Australians in the squad: Mitchell Johnson
The tournament’s early standouts, Mumbai have faltered with the playoffs in sight, losing their last two matches. Although they’ve already guaranteed a spot in the top-four, the Indians will have the chance on Saturday to all but seal top spot with a win over Kolkata Knight Riders, hot on their heels in second place. Lose to KKR heavily and they could mathematically fall out of the top-two altogether, though Pune would need a huge victory over Punjab on Sunday to leapfrog them.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Form guide: LWLLW
Australians: Chris Lynn, Nathan Coulter-Nile
The Knight Riders too have stumbled as the business end of the competition beckons, losing three of their last four games. A date with the ladder-leading Mumbai Indians on Saturday looms large; win and they could potentially finish top. And while a loss could knock them out if Kings XI Punjab can muster a big victory in their final game, KKR’s high net run-rate could prove decisive even if they're defeated by Mumbai.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Form guide: LWWWW
Australians: Dan Christian, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Adam Zampa
Steve Smith has had a fruitful first year at the helm of the rebranded ‘Supergiant’ outfit, but a four-match undefeated run came to an end on Friday against Delhi. Pune loomed large heading into the regular season’s last hurrah with a game up the sleeve and the chance to leapfrog Mumbai and Kolkata with a win over the Daredevils. Despite the defeat, they will be assured of qualification if Sunrisers Hyderabad lose to Gujarat on Saturday. If Hyderabad win however, RPS' showdown with Punjab on Sunday afternoon (8.30 pm AEST) would become a virtual quarter-final, with the winner achieving a playoff berth and the loser eliminated.
Form guide: WWLWW
Australians: Ben Cutting, Moises Henriques, Ben Laughlin and David Warner
Seven wins and a washout have the reigning IPL champions precariously placed on the edge of the top-four with one match to play. A win against Gujarat could see them reach the safety of the top-two, though they’d need Pune and Kolkata to lose their final matches for that to happen. If David Warner's Sunrisers lose Saturday’s match against the Lions, their fate will be in the hands of Punjab who face a must-win game against RPS on Sunday.
Kings XI Punjab
Form guide: WWLWW
Australians: Glenn Maxwell and Shaun Marsh
After winning four of their last five to stay in the hunt for the title, Glenn Maxwell’s Kings XI Punjab would have been relieved to see Delhi defeat RPS on Friday. The results keeps them alive and they now simply need to defeat Pune on Sunday to sneak into top-four.