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IPL playoff scenarios - Who's best placed to join KKR in the top two?

RCB, CSK, SRH the leading contenders for the two remaining playoff spots

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
That's the match - Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni catch up after the game, Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2022, Pune, May 4, 2022

CSK and RCB are set for a thrilling showdown in Bengaluru on Saturday  •  BCCI

Rajasthan Royals' defeat against Punjab Kings on Wednesday means KKR have sealed the top spot in the league phase of IPL 2024, while the second spot is still up for grabs. Here's a look at the latest qualification possibilities.

Rajasthan Royals

Played: 13, points: 16, NRR: 0.273
Remaining match: KKR (h)
Four defeats in a row means Royals could miss out on a top-two finish after dominating the points table for much of the season. They have now left the door ajar for both SRH and CSK to go past them on the points table. A win in their last game against KKR will at least ensure that CSK can't catch them on 18, but SRH could still go past them and finish second if they win both their remaining matches, as they have a superior net run rate.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru

Played: 13, points: 12, NRR: 0.387
Remaining match: CSK (h)
If SRH get at least one more point - either through a washout or a win - then RCB's only chance will be to finish ahead of CSK on the points table. That means beating them by at least 18 runs, if they score 200. If they're chasing 200, they will need to win in about 18.1 overs (depending on the runs scored off the winning shot). If their margin of victory is smaller, they can qualify only if SRH lose both their games, by any margin, and stay on 14. A defeat or a washout against CSK will knock RCB out of the tournament.

Chennai Super Kings

Played: 13, points: 14, NRR: 0.528
Remaining match: RCB (a)
A win against RCB on Saturday will ensure CSK's qualification. If they lose by a margin of less than 18 runs (chasing 200), then their NRR will stay above that of RCB's and they will still qualify regardless of other results. If CSK lose by a larger margin, they will have to hope SRH lose their remaining games and finish behind on run rate, in which case both CSK and RCB will qualify.
CSK can also take the second spot on the points table if RR lose their last game, and if SRH win no more than one match. Then, a win against RCB could propel CSK to second position, given that their NRR is currently better than those of both SRH and RR.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Played: 12, points: 14, NRR: 0.406
Remaining matches: GT (h), PBKS (h)
Royals' loss of form in the last leg of the league gives SRH an excellent chance of taking the coveted second position on the points table, especially since their last two games are at home against teams in the bottom three. Even if RR win their last game by 50 runs after scoring 200, their NRR will only improve to 0.435; SRH can go past that if they win their last two games by a combined margin of 25 runs (assuming a score of 200 in each game). They need only one more point to ensure qualification.

Delhi Capitals

Played: 14, points: 14, NRR: -0.377
DC finish their IPL 2024 on 14 points, but their net run rate of -0.377 means they have almost no chance of finishing among the top four. For them to make the playoffs, they'll have to hope that CSK beat RCB and finish on 16, and SRH lose their last two matches by big margins so that their net run rate slips below that of DC. Given the difference in their net run rates currently, that translates into a combined margin of defeat of 194 runs for SRH in their two matches (if they are chasing 201 each time). Barring miracles, that means DC's season has come to an end.

Lucknow Super Giants

Played: 13, points: 12, NRR: -0.787
Remaining match: MI (a)
LSG can still finish on 14 points, but even if they score 200 in their final match against Mumbai Indians and beat them by 100 runs, their net run rate will only improve to -0.351. Long story short, like DC, LSG are out of the race too, barring several miraculous results.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats