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On Monday, Rajasthan Royals claimed a 7-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi in the Indian Premier League.

While the verdict catapulted RR to the fifth spot on the points table - thanks to Jos Buttler's 48-ball 70 not out and fast bowler Jofra Archer's miserly spell -- the defeat pushed the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK to the brink of elimination.

Chasing CSK's 125 for five wickets in 20 overs, RR finished at 126 for three wickets in 17.3 overs.

Before the game started on Monday, RR were lying at the bottom of the eight-team points table with a net run rate (NRR) of -0.778. After they won with 2.3 overs to spare, thanks to Jos Buttler's 48-ball 70 not out, they climbed to the fifth spot with eight points from 10 matches. Steve Smith's team now has a NRR of -0.591, and is back in the race to qualify for the playoffs.

The top four teams on the points table qualify for the playoffs after each team has played 14 matches each in the league phase.

CSK have looked under the weather this season and the defeat at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium has pushed them to the bottom of the points table, with a NRR of -0.463. Although SunRisers Hyderabad (+0.008) and Kings XI Punjab (-0.262) also have six points each, they have better NRR than CSK.

Delhi Capitals are atop with 14 while Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore have 12 points each. All three teams have played nine matches so far.

CSK will now have to win all four matches and pray to qualify for the playoffs - a task that seems extremely difficult, but mathematically not impossible.

Here's the points table:

1. Delhi Capitals - 14 (points), +0.921 (NRR)

2. Mumbai Indians - 12 (points), +1.201 (NRR)

3. Royal Challengers Bangalore - 12 (points), -0.096 (NRR)

4. Kolkata Knight Riders - 10 (points), -0.607 (NRR)

5. Rajasthan Royals - 8 (points), -0.591 (NRR)

6. Sunrisers Hyderabad - 6 (points), +0.008 (NRR)

7. Kings XI Punjab - 6 (points), -0.262 (NRR)

8. Chennai Super Kings - 6 (points), -0.463 (NRR)

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Free Press Journal