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Analysis

IPL playoff scenarios: Mumbai Indians pray for LSG to beat SRH

With 14 matches of the league stage left, no team has yet been knocked out, though that could change very soon

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
08-May-2024
When centurions met: Jos Buttler and Sunil Narine catch up after the match, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2024, Kolkata, April 16, 2024

KKR and Royals, the top two teams on the table, will meet in the last league game of IPL 2024  •  BCCI

With only 14 matches to go in the league stage of IPL 2024, no team has yet qualified for the playoffs, and no team has yet been knocked out. Here is a look at how the qualification scenarios stack up for all the teams.

The top two

Kolkata Knight Riders
Played 11, points 16, NRR 1.453
Remaining matches: MI (h), GT (a), RR (a)
With 16 points already in their bag and an excellent net run rate of 1.453, Kolkata Knight Riders are almost through to the playoffs. Their worst-case scenario will be if they lose all three remaining games and stay on 16. It's still possible for three other teams - Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings, and one of Lucknow Super Giants or Sunrisers Hyderabad - to make it to 18, in which case KKR will be fighting for the fourth playoffs spot with LSG or SRH. Or, if Delhi Capitals win their last two, there could be a four-way tie on 16 with two spots up for grabs, with Royals and CSK already through. KKR can avoid all the NRR complications if they win another game and move to 18, which will ensure qualification.
Rajasthan Royals
Played 11, points 16, NRR 0.476
Remaining matches: CSK (a), PBKS (h), KKR (h)
Like KKR, Royals too are just one win away from ensuring qualification. If they lose all three remaining games, it could come down to NRR, either for the last spot between two teams, or for two spots among four teams, just as in the case for KKR. Royals have two home games still to come, but those will be in Guwahati, not Jaipur, where they have won four out of five.

The 12-pointers

Chennai Super Kings
Played 11, points 12, NRR 0.700
Remaining matches: GT (a), RR (h), RCB (a)
CSK are one of four teams jostling in the mid-table melee with 12 points, but they are the only ones of the four with a positive net run rate, which could be a significant advantage. Three wins will ensure qualification regardless of other results, but if they lose one it could come down to run rates, as six teams can finish on 16 or more points. Fourteen points could be a messy affair, as up to six teams can finish on 14, fighting for two places.
Sunrisers Hyderabad
Played 11, points 12, NRR -0.065
Remaining matches: LSG (h), GT (h), PBKS (h)
SRH's three remaining games are all at home, and against teams below them on the points table (though in the case of LSG it's only a run-rate difference). The next match against LSG will be crucial given that both teams are on 12 after 11 games. A win will be a huge boost to their chances, but 14 points won't give them safety, as there could be as many as six teams finishing on 14.
Lucknow Super Giants
Played 11, points 12, NRR -0.371
Remaining matches: SRH (a), DC (a), MI (a)
LSG are identically placed with SRH in terms of points and matches remaining, but a significant difference is that they play their last three matches away from home - in Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai. Two of those games are also against teams on the same points tally, which means wins against them will not only boost LSG's chances, but also diminish the prospects of those teams. However, 16 points still doesn't guarantee qualification as six teams can get there.
Delhi Capitals
Played 12, points 12, NRR -0.316
Remaining matches: RCB (a), LSG (h)
Capitals are one of four teams on 12, but have played an extra game. That means they can only get up to 16, while the others on 12 can still aim for 18. If SRH and CSK win their remaining matches, you could have four teams on 18 or more points, shutting Capitals out even if they finish on 16. On the other hand, 14 points might be enough for qualification without even NRR coming into play, if other results go their way.

The eight-pointers

Royal Challengers Bengaluru
Played 11, points 8, NRR -0.049
Remaining matches: PBKS (a), DC (h), CSK (h)
Punjab Kings
Played 11, points 8, NRR -0.187
Remaining matches: RCB (h), RR (a), SRH (a)
Mumbai Indians
Played 12, points 8, NRR -0.212
Remaining mat: KKR (a), LSG (h)
Gujarat Titans
Played 11, points 8, NRR -1.320
Remaining mat: CSK (h), KKR (h), SRH (a)
The last four teams are all bunched together on eight points. Among them Mumbai Indians are the only team to have played 12 games, and are hanging on by the barest of threads, as it's still possible for seven teams to be tied on 12, fighting for one spot. That thread will snap on Wednesday night if SRH beat LSG, or if their game is washed out and points are shared.
For the three other teams, there's still the possibility of getting to 14 points and qualifying without resorting to NRR.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats