Even a win might not be enough to reach the playoffs, but Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings will definitely be desperate to finish their league campaign on a victorious note and then keep their fingers crossed in hope for a place in the last-four stage.
Both the teams, who face each other in Dharamsala on Friday, are on 12 points each and 14 is the maximum they can get. Three teams — Gujarat Titans (18), Chennai Super Kings (15) and Lucknow Super Giants (15) already have more points. So the tussle is about just one spot and a couple of other teams are placed more favourably than the Royals and the Kings.
The Royals, who started the season strongly, have slipped inexplicably despite having a very good team and in-form players. The Kings have been guilty of inconsistency and questionable strategies. On Friday, neither can afford to take a false step. Sanju Samson will need his world-class players to step up, while Shikhar Dhawan will have to make the right moves to rein in their powerful rivals.
■ Punjab Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, 7.30pm, Dharamsala, live on Star Sports & Jio Cinema