As the teams brace for the final round of the Ranji Trophy Super League encounters, starting Wednesday, an intense battle among five Group A teams vying for two quarter-final slots is in store.
With Mumbai and Karnataka having already qualified for the last eight stage from Group A and B respectively, one can expect keen contests for the remaining four slots that are up for grabs. The last two slots will be taken by Plate Group semi-final winners.
The battle is likely to go down to the wire in Group A, where five teams -- Tamil Nadu (14 points from 6 games), Delhi (13 from 6 games), Gujarat (13 from 6 games), Bengal (12 from 6 games) and Railways (11 from 6 games) are fighting for the two slots.
Among the other two teams, Assam (8 from 6 games) are hoping they at least get a point against Saurashtra (5 from 6 games) in order to remain in the Elite group.
Delhi's shock defeat against Railways has thrown the group wide open. Delhi, who will be playing arch-rivals Mumbai at the Roshanara ground are hoping to score an outright win (five points), which will take them to 18 points, which will assure them a place among the top eight.
In case, Delhi get only three and finish with 16 points, they will have to wait for the results of the Tamil Nadu vs Gujarat and Railways vs Bengal clashes.
If Tamil Nadu score an outright win they are straightaway through to next round, but even if they get three to collect 17 points they stand a good chance of qualifying.
In the case of Gujarat, they need an outright win, as three points would mean they will be tied with Delhi on 16 points.
For Railways to qualify, they simply need an outright win and hope Mumbai and Tamil Nadu take the first innings lead against Delhi and Gujarat respectively. A win would mean Railways will have 16 points while Delhi and Gujarat will have 14 each.
For Bengal, an outright win will take them to 17 points and they will qualify straightaway even if Delhi and Gujarat manage the first innings lead, as the two teams will be then on 16 points.
Position in a nutshell (Mumbai and Karnataka are through)
Delhi (In order to qualify)
If Delhi get 6 points (bonus included), they qualify with 19 points.
If Delhi get 5 points, they are on 18 and can still qualify provided Bengal doesn't win with bonus points. If Bengal get a bonus, then they are through although both will have 18 points.
If Delhi get 3 points, they are on 16 and they will hope that Bengal vs Railways doesn't have an outright result and TN gets at least 3 points against Gujarat.
Tamil Nadu (In order to qualify)
An outright win against Gujarat will take them to 19 points and they qualify straightaway.
If Tamil Nadu get three, they move to 17 and hope that Bengal and Delhi don't win outright. If Bengal wins outright, Bengal and TN will be on 17 points but Bengal qualify due to more outright wins.
Gujarat (In order to qualify)
An outright win will take them to 18 points and they qualify straightaway.
In case Gujarat get 3 points, they will hope that Bengal vs Railways doesn't produce an outright result and Mumbai can manage 3 points against Delhi.
Bengal (In order to qualify)
If they win with bonus points, they should then qualify with 18 points if Delhi doesn't get a bonus.
If Bengal win outright and are on 17 points, they will hope that Delhi vs Mumbai and TN vs Gujarat doesn't have any outright result.
Railways (In order to qualify)
If Railways win with or without bonus points, they can qualify provided Delhi doesn't win outright against Mumbai.