IPL playoff scenarios: Five teams are still in the hunt for the last two spots

Punjab Kings secured a five-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday, buoyed by an exceptional all-round performance from skipper Sam Curran. While the win provided Punjab with a consolation victory, it dealt a blow to Rajasthan’s aspirations of clinching a top-two finish in the league stage, coming on the heels of their confirmation for a playoff spot just a day earlier.
Rajasthan, who stay in second place with one game in hand, and table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders are the only two teams to have booked their play-off berth.
Despite Punjab’s earlier exit from the playoff race, Curran’s commanding display with both bat and ball highlighted their resilience and determination to finish the season on a positive note.
Use TOI’s interactive utility to see possible playoff scenarios
With just five league games remaining in the season, here’s all the IPL playoff scenarios for the last two remaining spots:
* KKR are now guaranteed to finish sole toppers of the league stage since no other team can catch them on 19 points
* RR are guaranteed qualification even if they lose their last game. Their best case scenario is to finish second by winning their last game against KKR. Whether that will be sole second or joint second will depend on results in other games. If SRH win both their remaining games, they could join RR on 18 points and there’s not much separating the two teams on net run rate at the moment.
* Third placed CSK are sure to finish among the top four teams on points, but are not assured of qualification. They could end up tied third with up to four other teams (DC, RCB, SRH and LSG) or tied fourth with up to three other teams (DC, RCB and LSG) depending on results in other games. What helps is their better net run rate at this stage than any of the other teams competing for the last two qualifying slots.
* Fourth placed SRH too are sure to finish among the top four on points, but they too are not sure of qualification. They could find themselves in a tie with four other teams (DC, RCB, CSK and LSG) for third place if they lose both their remaining games. They could also end up in a three-way tie for fourth spot with DC and LSG . But even just one win from their two remaining games would guarantee qualification
* Fifth placed DC’s chances of finishing among the top four on points, singly or jointly, are at 62.5%. But they are far from sure of qualifying. A third place finish on points would involve a four-way or five-way tie, while finishing fourth would mean a two-way to four-way tie depending on results in other games
* Sixth placed RCB have a 50% chance of making it to the top four spots on points, singly or jointly. Their last game against CSK is a must-win, but even winning it is not enough. Other results will need to go their way
* Seventh placed LSG, despite Tuesday’s loss to DC, are not out of it yet. They still have a 31% chance of finishing among the top four spots on points, singly or jointly. The bad news, however, is that finishing third would involve a five-way tie while ending up joint fourth would mean a three-way or four-way tie and their NRR is the worst among all the teams they could tie with
* MI, PBKS and GT have already been knocked out

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