New Delhi: They were placed at a worrying seventh in the points table of IPL 2012 prior to their match against Mumbai Indians but now Royal Challengers Bangalore find themselves placed fourth and well in contention for a playoff spot. Such is the uncertainty of the closely-fought IPL 5, which sets the perfect stage for a climax.
With just 16 matches left in arguably the closest season of the League so far, five teams - Mumbai, Bangalore, Rajasthan, Punjab and Chennai - are now battling for two playoff spots at stake.
Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders seem comfortable, although not through mathematically yet. Pune Warriors and Deccan Chargers can be safely written off after each of the two faced defeats in nine matches.
With barely anything between the five sides, the point that both Chennai super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore derived out of their fixture which was washed away becomes even more decisive.
The run rates are bound to play a huge role in the way the points table looks at the end of the 72 league matches. Rajasthan Royals are well ahead on that front, with their two huge wins in the last week placing their run rate well in the positive.
Chennai Super Kings are the only other side to have their run rate in the positive but their remaining fixtures include matches against Delhi and Kolkata which makes their road tougher.
The most unpredictable of the lot are Kings XI Punjab. With six wins and six losses, they have shown glimpses of a well composed side while failing miserably on several occasions.
As the teams head into the final set of matches, each run scored and each dot ball gets even more crucial. While teams are looking to climb past one another, they must also be wary of the two sides lying at the bottom of the table who can play party-spoilers as witnessed in the past editions.