S Rajesh of ESPNcricinfo, May 2018 –-where the title is IPL playoff qualification scenarios – Five teams fight for two spots
With four league games to go, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings have already qualified for the playoffs, while five other teams are fighting for the last two spots. ESPNcricinfo looks at how the qualification scenarios will be affected by the results of Saturday’s games between Rajasthan Royals (12 points, -0.403 Net Run Rate) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (12 points, 0.264 NRR), and Sunrisers Hyderabad (18 points, 0.319 NRR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (14 points, -0.091 NRR).
If Royals and Sunrisers win
RCB will be out.
Royals will move to 14 points, but their qualification will still depend on other results. For them to beat KK’s net run rate, each of those two results – Royals winning and KKR losing – would have to be in the range of 35-40 runs. Also, Mumbai Indians have a much better NRR than Royals and will qualify ahead of them if they win, while Kings XI have an outside chance too.
KKR will still qualify if their NRR doesn’t drop below that of Royals or Kings XI (if they win on Sunday).
Mumbai will qualify if they beat Daredevils, but will be out if they lose.
Kings XI not only have to win, but also get past the NRR of one of KKR or Royals, and hope that Mumbai lose to Daredevils. If Mumbai win, then Kings XI will have to beat the NRRs of both Royals and KKR. Since they play last, though, they will know exactly what is required.
If Royals and Knight Riders win
RCB will be out.
KKR will qualify with 16 points. However, to finish second ahead of CSK, KKR will have to win by around 50 runs, and hope that CSK lose their last game by around 30.
Royals will need Mumbai to lose on Sunday, but also hope Kings XI don’t overtake them on NRR if Kings XI beat CSK.
Kings XI will need Mumbai to lose, and then they have to beat CSK by a big enough margin to go past Royals on NRR. If Royals win by five runs, Kings XI will have to win by at least 27 (assuming the teams batting first score 180).
Mumbai will have to beat Daredevils to qualify.
If RCB and Sunrisers win
RCB will qualify for the playoffs regardless of Sunday’s results.
Royals will be out.
KKR will hope Mumbai lose, so they can take the fourth spot. Their NRR should ensure they will finish ahead of Kings XI, even if Kings XI beat CSK.
Mumbai will have to beat Daredevils to qualify; else they will be out.
KXIP can only qualify if Mumbai lose, and if they win big, and KKR have lost by a huge margin. If each of those margins are around 50 runs, then KXIP can sneak ahead of KKR on run rate.
If RCB and KKR win
Royals will be out.
KKR will qualify. However, to finish second ahead of CSK, they will have to win by around 50 runs, and hope that CSK lose their last game by around 30.
RCB will have to wait on Mumbai’s result against Daredevils. If Mumbai win, the fourth playoff spot will be decided by NRR. If RCB win by a margin of 35 runs against Royals, then they have to hope Mumbai win by a margin smaller than five runs (if the teams batting first score 180), to stay ahead on NRR.
If Mumbai lose, they will be out. If they win, they will qualify provided their NRR is better than RCB’s.
Kings XI will be out even if they win their last game, because their NRR is too far below RCB’s.
S Rajesh (stats editor)
Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo’s stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.