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IPL playoffs: How can RCB make it to the top four? What about CSK?

With ten matches to go, only KKR have sealed a spot in the top four, while MI and PBKS have been knocked out

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis are all smiles after RCB ended their six-game losing streak, Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bengaluru, IPL 2024, Hyderabad, April 25, 2024

There's still hope for RCB  •  AFP/Getty Images

With only ten matches to go in the league stage of IPL 2024, only Kolkata Knight Riders are assured of qualification, while two teams - Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings - have been eliminated. Here is a look at the playoffs chances of the remaining sides.

Chennai Super Kings

Played: 12, points: 12, NRR: 0.491
Remaining matches: RR (h), RCB (a)
Four losses in their last six games have left CSK with plenty to do to ensure a place in the top four. However, wins in their two remaining games will almost certainly ensure qualification, since their net run rate is still a healthy 0.491 despite their 35-run loss to Gujarat Titans. That's a substantial cushion over Delhi Capitals' -0.316, who could also reach 16 if they win their last two.
Super Kings will have to contend with a quick turnaround though, as they face Rajasthan Royals next in a day game on Sunday at home, after playing in Ahmedabad on Friday. If they lose that, they could be knocked out as RR, Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and one of Delhi Capitals or Lucknow Super Giants can all finish on 16 or more points.
If they do finish on 14, their best bet will be SRH and DC losing their remaining games and LSG losing to Mumbai Indians to stay on 14. Then, their superior net run rate will ensure CSK finish third, ahead of the two other teams on 14.

Gujarat Titans

Played: 12, points: 10, NRR: -1.063
Remaining matches: KKR (h), SRH (a)
Even with the two points against CSK, qualification is extremely tough for GT, because of their terrible net run rate of -1.063. Their best case will be a 14-point finish and a jostle for the last two spots with three other teams. On the current net run rate, GT's best chance will be if those three teams are SRH (who are already on 14), DC and LSG. GT will still need huge wins to finish above at least two of those teams.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Played: 12, points: 18, NRR: 1.428
Remaining mat: GT (a), RR (a)
With 18 points already in the bag and two matches still to go, KKR have qualified for the playoffs, and almost sealed a top-two spot. For them to miss out on the top two, they'll have to lose by really huge margins, and SRH will need two big wins as well. For instance, if KKR lose their last two by a combined margin of 100 runs, SRH will have to win their two remaining games by a combined margin of 137 runs (assuming first-innings totals of 200 in each game).

Rajasthan Royals

Played: 11, points: 16, NRR: 0.476
Remaining matches: CSK (a), PBKS (h), KKR (h)
RR need one win to be sure of qualification. Even if they lose all three, they will be knocked out only if their net run rate falls below that of the winner of the DC-LSG clash, assuming the winner finishes on 16. Like KKR, RR will instead be eyeing a top-two finish after having dominated the points table for most of the season.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Played: 12, points: 14, NRR: 0.406
Remaining matches: GT (h), PBKS (h)
Their stunning win over LSG has lifted SRH to 14 points at a net run rate of 0.406, which not only gives them an excellent chance of qualifying but also a shot at finishing in the top two (though they'll need help from other results for that). Even one more win will put them in a favourable position to qualify for the playoffs. They also have a good schedule, playing their last two games at home against teams which are currently among the bottom three.

Lucknow Super Giants

Played: 12, points: 12, NRR: -0.769
Remaining matches: DC (a), MI (a)
The drubbing against SRH has impacted LSG's net run rate quite adversely, and that could see them missing out on a top-four finish. Even with 16 points, they could be knocked out by RR, KKR, SRH and CSK finishing above them. Even if they beat DC but lose to Mumbai, they will be hard-pressed to qualify as the other teams in contention - SRH, DC, CSK and RCB - all have better run rates.

Delhi Capitals

Played: 12, points: 12, NRR: -0.316
Remaining matches: RCB (a), LSG (h)
CSK's defeat to GT is good news for Capitals, but they could still miss out even with 16 points if CSK win their last two, and if the top three teams move beyond 16.
However, if DC beat RCB but lose to LSG, they could still finish among the top four on 14 points if LSG lose to Mumbai and if none of the other teams which are currently below 14 get to that mark. Then, the fight for the fourth place could be a direct tussle between DC and LSG, with both on 14 points and the former currently having the better run rate.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru

Played: 12, points: 10, NRR: 0.217
Remaining matches: DC (h), CSK (h)
RCB have mounted a late charge with four wins on the bounce, but even six in a row might not be enough as four teams can still finish on 16 or more points. However, given their relatively healthy net run rate, they could even finish third with the following result combination: SRH and CSK lose both their matches, and LSG win no more than one. Then RCB will have a good chance of surpassing SRH on net run rate, and they will stay ahead of DC and LSG as well.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats