Stats Analysis

How Delhi Daredevils can still make the IPL playoffs

They will need a whole lot of things to go in their favour, least of all winning their own remaining games, but they still have a (tiny) chance of going through on 12 points

Shiva Jayaraman
Shreyas Iyer and Ricky Ponting have a chat, Delhi Daredevils v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2018, Delhi, May 10, 2018


Delhi Daredevils' loss against Sunrisers Hyderabad - in spite of a heroic lone hand by Rishabh Pant - has dealt a blow to the chances of the team making it to the last-four stage of this IPL, but they are not out of it yet. They could still qualify if they manage to win their remaining three matches - against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians - and provided the dice rolls in their favour. Similarly, other teams could also be in with a chance if they can get to at least 12 points.
Sunrisers and Chennai Super Kings are already out of Daredevils' reach in terms of points. Given their poor NRR, they wouldn't want to compete with other teams for a solitary berth in the playoffs. To increase their chances, Daredevils would want none of the other teams to move ahead of them on points, thereby leaving two places up for grabs in the last four which would be decided on the basis of NRR. With Daredevils having the second-worst NRR of all the teams currently, they would need this extra wiggle room as they are unlikely to qualify as the third-placed team.
For this to happen, Sunrisers and Chennai Super Kings have to beat all the other teams, except of course Daredevils, in their remaining encounters. Sunrisers have three games left, against Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. Super Kings play Rajasthan Royals, Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab besides Sunrisers. The result of the match between Sunrisers and Super Kings is inconsequential to Daredevils.
Kings XI Punjab, who are already on 12 points, need to lose all their remaining games - against Knight Riders, Royal Challengers, Mumbai and Super Kings - for Daredevils to qualify. But that would mean both Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders also move to 12 points on the back of their wins against Kings XI. It then follows that both these teams should not win any of their other remaining matches. In Mumbai's case, Daredevils themselves would need to do half the job as Mumbai are one the three remaining teams they have to play against. That leaves only Rajasthan Royals to beat Mumbai in the latter's remaining encounter.
As in the case with Mumbai, Daredevils will need Royals' help to prevent Knight Riders from earning more than 12 points. The two wins, against Mumbai and Knight Riders, will take Royals to 12 points as well. This would necessitate (from Daredevils' perspective) that Royals lose to Royal Challengers. Royal Challengers, on the other hand, having lost to Sunrisers and Daredevils, will have to settle with 10 points. They could also join other teams on 12 points should they beat Sunrisers, but that would be not be in Daredevils' interests as they wouldn't want any more competition than is absolutely unavoidable to qualify on NRR. The following table shows the standings, based only on points, should be above scenario play out.
Best-case scenario for Daredevils to qualify
Team Current points Final points
SRH 18 24/22*
CSK 14 18/20*
KXIP 12 12
MI 10 12
KKR 10 12
DD 6 12
RR 8 12
RCB** 6 10
* Points subject to the result of the SRH-CSK match ** Indicative scenario only; RCB can reach 14 points if they win all their remaining games
Like Daredevils, all other teams could get to 12 points and can still qualify for the playoffs. The above laid out scenario, though, is not the only way in which Daredevils or other teams can qualify with 12 points on NRR. But considering the hole Daredevils have dug for themselves in this IPL, this might be their only shot at securing a spot in the playoffs.

Shiva Jayaraman is a senior stats analyst at ESPNcricinfo @shiva_cricinfo