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IPL 2024 business end gets exciting: Who can join KKR in playoffs?

As many as five teams can still finish on 14 points and only two among them will advance to the last four level.

A scene from a game in IPL 2024. (Photo by SURJEET YADAV/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 is at an interesting juncture. With less than a week to go before the league stage concludes, only one team has qualified for the playoffs and that is Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

Three teams are out of the race for the top four and they are Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings and Gujarat Titans — the last one getting eliminated after its match with KKR was washed out completely in Ahmedabad on Monday (13).

That leaves six teams who are jostling for the remaining three berths in the top four. Here’s a look at how the teams are placed at the moment with one or two games left for each of them to make the most.

Rajasthan Royals (RR):

It is disappointing for the fans of Rajasthan Royals that despite the team winning eight of their first nine games, they have still not confirmed a place in the top four. Three consecutive losses after their eighth win have left Royals on 16 points from 12 games. They can still make it comfortably by winning one of their remaining two matches — against Punjab on May 15 and KKR on May 19. Royals’ net run rate (NRR) stands at +0.349.

Read: Washout ends Gujarat’s playoff hopes

Chennai Super Kings (CSK):

Chennai have been one of the most consistent teams in the IPL but this year, their run have been more of a roller coaster ride under a new captain. They are currently placed at No.3 with 14 points from 13 matches and will take on Royal Challengers Bengaluru, who they had faced in the first match of the tournament on March 22, in their final game, on May 18. A win in that game will take Chennai to the playoffs but a loss might not put them out of the race either. If Lucknow Super Giants lose both their games, CSK will still make it. They will be, in fact, favourites to go through even if Lucknow win only game, thanks to their superior NRR. If LSG win both of their games and Sunrisers Hyderabad lose both of theirs, CSK’s loss to Bengaluru will mean that the final playoff spot will be decided on NRR. Chennai’s current NRR is +0.528.

Read: Bengaluru win 5 games in a row to stay in top-4 hunt

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH):

Sunrisers Hyderabad would also be disappointed that despite some powerful performances in the tournament, they have yet not confirmed their place in the playoffs. Hyderabad have 14 points from 12 matches. Winning both their final games (against Gujarat on May 16 and Punjab on May 19) will guarantee them a place in the top four. If they win one and lose the other and Lucknow Super Giants win both their remaining games, Hyderabad could still go through due to a superior NRR (they currently have +0.406). If Hyderabad lose both and Lucknow win their two, the former will have to depend on the result of the Chennai-Bengaluru game. If Chennai win that game, Hyderabad will crash out. If Bengaluru win, it will come down to the NRR. Hyderabad would like to win both their remaining games which are against teams that are already out of the race and might be low on spirit.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB):

Bengaluru have made a tremendous comeback into the tournament after losing six games on the trot at one point. They have now won five in a row and must beat Chennai in the final game at home on Saturday. A win will take them to 14 points. They will also want Lucknow and Hyderabad to lose both their remaining fixtures, so that they can make the playoffs even by beating Chennai narrowly. If Lucknow and Hyderabad win one match each, the NRR will come into play and Bengaluru will have to register a big win over Chennai to advance to the playoffs. If Hyderabad and Lucknow win both their games, Bengaluru will crash out even if they beat Chennai. RCB’s NRR now is +0.387.

Lucknow Super Giants (LSG):

Lucknow suffered two heavy defeats in their last two games which has taken a toll on their NRR (-0.769). They will therefore look to win their final two games (against Delhi Capitals on May 14 and Mumbai Indians on May 17) straight to reach 16 points. But even that might not be enough if Chennai beat Bengaluru and Hyderabad win one of their last two games as they have better NRR than Lucknow. If Hyderabad win both their games and Chennai lose to Bengaluru, Lucknow will qualify as the No.4 team. Lucknow will look to improve their NRR in the last two matches by eyeing good wins.

Delhi Capitals (DC):

Delhi Capitals can reach the maximum of 14 points if they win their remaining game which is against Lucknow. If Chennai beat Bengaluru and Hyderabad win one of their two final games, Delhi will still crash out. If Delhi beat Lucknow, Chennai lose to Bengaluru, Lucknow beat Mumbai and Hyderabad lose their final two matches, then five teams — Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Delhi will be on 14 points and the two best among them will be decided by NRR. Delhi’s NRR now is -0.482.

The playoffs will begin on May 21 when KKR will face the second-placed team in Ahmedabad.

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