The independent voice of cricket

Indian Premier League 2020

How Chennai Super Kings can still qualify for IPL 2020 playoffs

CSK Dhoni
by Sankalp Srivastava 3-minute read

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are currently at the bottom of the IPL 2020 table, and in all sorts of trouble. But they can still qualify for the playoffs. Here’s how.

In an unprecedented season, CSK are staring at the unfamiliar prospect of elimination from the IPL league stage. After 10 matches, they have lost seven, and have so far been unable to lift themselves off the wooden spoon position.

However, they can still qualify. They have four matches remaining, against Mumbai Indians (MI), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). If they can hit a run of form in this final phase of the season, they will somehow still make it to the playoffs.

However, there is still a route through to the playoffs, even if they lose against MI on Friday. Below, we’ve listed the two scenarios in which CSK can make it through.

Scenario #1: CSK win all four, finish with 14 points

If CSK win all of their remaining encounters, they will finish with 14 points, two more than what Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) managed last season to take the final playoffs spot. However, they will still need other results to go their way.

CSK’s last two matches are against teams in direct competition for the final playoffs spot as they take on KKR and KXIP. Win those matches and they’ll not only boost their own chances of making it through, they will hamper the opposition’s hopes.

If CSK are to qualify for the playoffs without net run rate coming into the equation, they’ll need all of KXIP, SRH and Rajasthan Royals to lose at least two of their remaining matches, and KKR to lose three. It’s a hard ask, but should it happen, CSK will have a clear 14 points after 14 matches, and their competition will have 12 points or fewer.

However, if more teams finish level on 14 points with CSK, assuming they win all their remaining matches, NRR will come into play. As things stand, CSK’s NRR is better than two of their four competitors for the spot — KKR and RR. But KXIP and SRH have better NRR’s, and CSK will need to keep that in mind in their remaining matches.

The equation will be much clearer when they face KXIP in their final league match of the season on November 1, potentially making that clash a possible decider if both teams go into the match with 12 points each.

Scenario #2: CSK win three of remaining four, finish with 12 points

CSK lose one match, and can still make it through, if they win their remaining matches and finish on 12 points. However, it will require plenty of luck, with plenty of other results needing to go their way. They’ll need KXIP, RR and SRH to lose at least two of their remaining matches, while KKR will need to lose all but one of theirs.

Should all that miraculously happen, CSK will finish at 12 points along with one or more teams. And this is where NRR will come into play. Along with winning their own matches, CSK will have to make sure they do so handsomely so as to improve their NRR, which took a beating after their 10-wicket loss to MI.

CSK’s path will become a tad easier if SRH, who have the best NRR of chasing pack, fail to get to 12 points. Last season, they managed to take the final playoffs spot on NRR as three teams finished with 12 points. CSK’s season can follow a similar path if they manage to improve their NRR exponentially.

That’s the best-case scenario for CSK. It’s mathematically impossible for them to qualify now without NRR coming into play.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99