Editor’s note: The article was originally published after the completion of 40 matches in IPL 2018. It has now been updated after match 52 between Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings on Friday.
As the the Indian Premier League heads into the business end, the focus is squarely on which team will end up occupying the top-four spots in the standings. Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders have made it to the play-offs, while Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore have been eliminated.
Mathematically, three teams are still in fray for the one remaining play-off spot.
Here’s a look at the scenarios required for each team to make it to the playoffs / finish in the top-two:
Played: 13, Points: 18
The 2016 champions became the first team to qualify for the playoffs of the IPL. Armed with arguably the best bowling attack of the tournament and an astute captain in Kane Williamson, Hyderabad have all the makings of a team that can lift the title of May 27.
With the IPL’s unique playoffs format where the winner of the match between No 1 and No 2 on the table, going through to the final and the loser getting another shot to take on the winner between No 3 and No 4, finishing in the top two is a significant advantage.
With 18 points from 13 games, Hyderabad and a NRR of +0.319, SRH have assured themselves of a spot in the top-two after RCB’s thumping win against KXIP. Only CSK can now go past the Sunrisers.
Chennai Super Kings
Played 13, Points: 16
By beating table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, CSK assured themselves of a play-off spot - the only team to make it to the business end of the IPL every year that they have played in the league. But a surprise defeat to DD, and a big one at that, has dented their momentum and NRR in equal measure. A top-two spot should still be theirs but the 34-run defeat at Kotla saw their NRR dip from +0.383 to +0.220 - another big defeat against KXIP, coupled with a significant win for KKR over SRH could see them slip to third. Far-fetched, but still plausible, this scenario would be a big blow for the men in yellow.
Remaining game: Kings XI Punjab (H).
Kings XI Punjab
Played 13, Points: 12
Ravichandran Ashwin’s side blew hot and cold in equal measure but an impressive start had helped them stay in the top-four consistently. However, they have now lost four games on the trot and five of the last six. Momentum, right now, is Punjab’s worst enemy.
The quantum of defeat against RCB has seen their NRR plummet to -0.518 which improved to -0.49 after a cruel, close defeat at the Wankhede.
A scenario where multiple teams are tied on 14 will not end up well for Punjab. They need a ridiculously big win against CSK in the final match of the league phase. The only silver lining? They’d know exactly they need to do qualify since every other team would have finished their matches before they take the field in Pune on Sunday.
A better scenario for KXIP would be to hope for MI to lose in their final match against DD. Ashwin’s side will then reach 14 points if they beat CSK, with MI finishing on 12 – a scenario where they have to only better Royals’ NRR, is not too far-fetched.
Remaining games: Chennai Super Kings (A).
Kolkata Knight Riders
Played 14, Points: 16
Their win against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad, their third triumph on the trot, ensured a place in the play-offs for KKR. They end their league campaign with eight wins and six losses.
Played 13, Points: 12
Mumbai Indians’ chances of making it to the play-offs suffered a huge blow on Sunday after their defeat to Rajasthan Royals. But they stayed alive thanks to a remarkable last-over win against Punjab. They simply don’t quit, do they?
All they need to do now is win against Delhi Daredevils on Sunday and secure their place in the play-offs.
Remaining games: Delhi Daredevils (A).
Played 14, Points: 14
Rajasthan have done all that they could, registering seven wins and as many losses to be placed fourth in the table and in contention for a play-off spot. A fine win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their final game at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium helped them end their campaign at home in style. Will their stint in IPL 11 carry on? To find out their fate, the Ajinkya Rahane-led side will have to wait and watch.
However, their fate is no longer in their hands. To advance in the tournament, they now have to hope for Mumbai Indians loses to Delhi Daredevils and that KXIP do not defeat CSK by a margin that will give them a net run-rate which is greater than theirs.
Royals Challengers Bangalore
Played 14, Points: 12
Royal Challengers Bangalore lost to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, with it brought an end to their campaign in the ongoing IPL season.
RCB need to beat RR to stay alive in the race for a play-off berth. However, Saturday’s defeat sealed their fate.
Played 13, Points: 8
Delhi Daredevils were out of the playoffs race after their defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 12. Their win against CSK will give the side full of youngsters a great confidence boost following a rather disappointing season. On their final day of the competition they have a chance to spoil the party of Mumbai Indians, who need the win to advance.
Remaining games: Mumbai Indians (H)