The IPL 2022 has gone past the 50-match mark, and among teams still in the race to qualify for the play-offs, the hunt is down to the last two or three matches of the league phase.
Mumbai Indians, the most successful franchise in the tournament’s history, are out of the reckoning. After 10 matches, they have just two wins and four points, which means Mumbai can get a maximum of 12 points if they win their remaining four games; that will not be enough for a top-four finish as four sides already have 14 points or more.
That leaves nine teams still targeting a top-four finish at the end of the league phase on May 22 when all sides would have played their allocated 14 matches.
The two newest franchises, Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans, are also the table-toppers, with eight wins in 11 games. Both are on 16 points and almost guaranteed to qualify.
But the most interesting scenario surrounds title-holders Chennai Super Kings. They lost five of their first six matches and it looked like their season would go down in flames, but they have turned their ship on a dime after a couple of key developments.
At the end of last month, Ravindra Jadeja handed over the captaincy to MS Dhoni, who had himself given the leadership reins to the all-rounder days before the start of the season.
Then opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway – who was back after a break for his wedding – found form simultaneously this month to help win two out of three matches.
That has allowed Chennai fans to dream again. As is the situation when teams start so poorly, their chances of advancing to the next stage depend not only on them winning their matches, but also on others losing theirs.
So, how can Chennai Super Kings qualify for the IPL 2022 play-offs?
CSK’s remaining matches
Mumbai Indians on May 12
Gujarat Titans on May 15
Rajasthan Royals on May 20
What Chennai need to do
First things first, Chennai need to win all their matches to rise to 14 points. Winning by good margins will also be helpful as it will improve their net run rate (0.028) as Chennai will most likely be fighting with one or more teams after being tied on points, in case other results go their way.
Firstly, if Rajasthan Royals win one out of their next three matches and Royal Challengers Bangalore succeed in one of their remaining two games, it will end Chennai’s campaign as both teams – who are on 14 points – will rise to 16 and be beyond the Super Kings' reach.
Chennai also need the already-eliminated Mumbai to defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals (both on 10 points from 11 games). That would force both Hyderabad and Delhi to win their other two games to reach 14 points, and then it would be down to net run rate.
Kolkata Knight Riders have same number of points as Chennai, but their net run rate is the worst among the teams still in the race so they are likely to lose out even if they reach 14 points.