IPL Qualification scenarios: Which top four teams can make the cut?

The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League has seen some intense rivalry, fierce competition among the eight competing teams in the league stage. The teams gave absolutely everything to come up with better results but for teams to qualify for the playoffs, the teams should finish in top four to keep their title hopes alive.

IPL Qualification scenarios: Which top four teams can make the cut?
Mumbai Indians

Chennai Super Kings became the first team to qualify for the playoffs and then Delhi Capitals followed suit after which Mumbai Indians announced their arrival. Now the competition for the fourth spot is still on the hunt.

As the table stands, CSK are placed first in the points table with 18 points (+0.209 NRR), DC take the second spot with 18 points (+0.044 NRR), MI comes third with 16 points (+0.321) and SRH are positioned fourth with 12 points with best NRR of +0.577.

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There could be some major shuffling in the points table after the result of the next couple of matches. Let’s take a closer look at the qualification scenarios as to who will be in the final four?

Can KKR qualify for the playoffs?

If KKR beat Mumbai Indians, they go through or lose and go home. If KKR comes out second in their clash against MI, SRH will take the fourth spot in the playoffs thanks to their superior NRR. It will be the first instance of a side qualifying for knockouts in the IPL with just 12 points.

Can KXIP still make it if they defeat CSK?

The question arises whether Kings XI Punjab can still make it to the playoffs if they beat CSK. For KXIP to make the cut, they have to beat CSK and should rely on the result of other match i.e. KKR has to lose to MI and only then Kings XI Punjab can breathe a sigh of relief.

In this scenario, all the 3 teams namely SRH, KKR & KXIP – will be tied on 12 points apiece. SRH has a good NRR among the three (+0.577) and if KXIP has to go surpass that, they need to beat CSK by about 250 runs, which is practically impossible.

Can CSK miss out on top two slots?

As of now, CSK has 18 points with an NRR of +0.209 which is comparatively lower than the top 3 teams. However, a win today against Kings XI Punjab means that they are well assured of a top-two spot and will get a knockout match at home venue.

The only chance of them losing a top-two finish is that if they lose to KXIP by 42 or more runs or with a minimum of 5.4 overs to spare (assuming the scenario that KXIP score 160 runs) and then Mumbai Indians defeat Kolkata Knight Riders.

Scenarios: MI and DC to finish in the top-two

Even as Mumbai Indians qualified for the playoffs, they are aiming for the top spot and for that, they will have to beat KKR which would give them 18 points. Interestingly, they have a healthy Net Run Rate (NRR) among the 3 qualified teams and a win is just enough for them to earn a spot for the Qualifier in Chennai on Tuesday.

In case if Mumbai Indians surrender themselves at the hands of KKR, then CSK and DC will finish top two despite CSK’s outcome against Kings XI Punjab.

DC now has 18 points in the table and for them to finish in the top two spots, either MI has to lose their final league stage match against SRH, meaning that MI will then end on 16 points or CSK defeat to KXIP by a margin of 42 or more runs or at least 5.4 overs to spare, which will bring CSK’s NRR below that of Delhi Capitals.

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