New Delhi, Two new teams -- Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans -- have performed exceedingly well in their maiden season and are in the race to finish at the top of the points table with their three league matches remaining in the ongoing IPL 2022.
Ahead of the start of the 15th edition of the league, nobody would have thought that Mumbai Indians (five-time champions), Chennai Super Kings (four-time champions) and Kolkata Knight Riders (two-times champions) would feature in the bottom three but it is a reality due to the lacklustre performances of these franchise.
On the other hand, new entrants -- Lucknow and Gujarat -- have played fearless cricket and are on the verge of qualification for playoffs. After the completion of the 56 matches in IPL 2022, only Mumbai Indians have been eliminated from the qualification race and nine teams are still in the fray for a playoff spot.
Before the final leg of IPL 2022's league stage, IANS takes a look at the scenarios each side needs to go through to qualify for a playoff spot.
Race for top-two finish:
The KL Rahul-led Lucknow and Hardik Pandya's Gujarat are fighting for finishing at the top of the points table.
Lucknow have 16 points from 11 games (8 win, 3 loss) and they need just one win to seal a top-four berth. If LSG win two of their remaining three games then they will be assured of a finish in the top-two. Their Net Run Rate (+0.703) is the best among all 10 teams at this stage and even if they are tied on points with other sides, Lucknow have the best chance of finishing on top.
On the other hand, Gujarat, like Lucknow, also need one more win to assure themselves of a finish in the top-four slot. GT also have 16 points from 11 games and will finish in the top-two if they win their last three games.
If they can manage to win two more matches, it will leave them in a good position as they would be on 20 points. Only Rajasthan Royals, who have 14 points from 11 games, can overtake GT by winning all three games. The Hardik Pandya-led side can even make the cut with one more win if Rajasthan Royals win only one of their last three games.
Both Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans are facing each other in the 57th match of the IPL 2022 on Tuesday in Pune and whosoever wins will officially qualify for the playoffs.
Rajasthan Royals (14 points) have the best NRR (+0.326) among all teams below them in the points table, and one more win could be enough to keep them in the top-four. They can also finish in the top-two if they win all three remaining games and GT win not more than two.
If GT and RR are tied on points, NRR will come into the equation (currently, Rajasthan have an NRR of +0.326 as compared to GT, who are at +0.120).
On the other hand, Faf du Plessis-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (14 points from 12 games) could reach a maximum of 18 points and they will seal a top-four spot if they win their last two games. However, if they lose one, Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Punjab Kings all have a chance to equal RCB on 16 points and it will come down to NRR and, in that case, Bangalore's NRR (-0.115) could go against them.
And if RCB lose both their remaining games, they could also fail to qualify for playoffs as both DC and SRH have a better NRR than them.
On the other hand, Delhi Capitals (10 points from 11 games) will have to hope that RCB lose at least one game, because DC can only get to a maximum of 16 points. The Rishabh Pant-led side has a NRR of +0.150 and could edge ahead if teams are tied on points. However, Delhi can also be knocked out if RR and RCB both get to 18 points.
One more loss for DC could also be the end of the season for them as they will only be able to get 14 points. SRH, PBKS, RR, and RCB will all be in contention to get 16 points.
Meanwhile, the Kane Williamson-led Sunrisers Hyderabad have 10 points from 11 games. Like DC, SRH will also only be in the contention if RCB lose one of their last two games. If RCB lose one match and DC lose one, SRH will need to win all matches to make the cut. Their path will be easier if DC lose two of their three games.
SRH could be also knocked out if four teams get to 18 points because they can get a maximum of 16 points. If RCB are out of contention, and SRH are tied on points with DC, it will come down to NRR. Currently, SRH have an inferior run-rate (-0.031) compared to Delhi.
Punjab Kings have 10 points from 11 games, they will only be in contention if RCB lose one game. However, they have a NRR of -0.231 and will have to win their remaining matches by huge margins if they want to edge ahead if points are tied among teams.
PBKS are scheduled to play three teams (vs RCB, DC, SRH) who are directly competing with them for a playoff berth. If Punjab wins all three, they will compete with RCB to make the top four. If RCB and PBKS are tied on 16 points, RCB could make the cut if they continue to have a better net run-rate than PBKS.
Kolkata Knight Riders have eight points from 11 games and NRR of -0.304. A lot of things will have to be in their favour if they want to make the top-four and get 14 points. KKR have to win all games by big margins, RCB have to lose all games, and CSK, DC, SRH, PBKS have to lose at least one game each. However, even then, KKR's poor NRR might not be enough for them to get a playoff spot.
On the other hand, Chennai Super Kings also have eight points from 11 games and their play-off chances too depend on a lot of other results going their way plus they have to win their remaining three games to reach 14 points. They will also hope that RCB lose both their matches, and DC, SRH, and PBKS lose at least one game each by big margins. However, CSK will be eliminated if RCB win their next game.
Five times champions Mumbai have won just two out their 11 matches in the ongoing season and are already out of the tournament.