CSK are currently placed at the second spot in the points table © BCCI
CSK are currently placed at the second spot in the points table © BCCI

With a comprehensive 8-wicket win against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at Pune, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have extended their lead over the six teams below them on the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018  points table. They are now on 16 points. However, unlike SRH, who had qualified for the Playoffs after their previous match, CSK are yet to book a place. There exists at least one scenario where this is not possible. Before delving into the details, let us have a look at the points table after Match 45 (the CSK vs SRH match on May 13).

IPL 2018 points table (after CSK vs SRH on May 13)
  M W L P
Sunrisers Hyderabad

12

9

3

18

Chennai Super Kings

12

8

4

16

Kings XI Punjab

11

6

5

12

Kolkata Knight Riders

12

6

6

12

Mumbai Indians

11

5

6

10

Rajasthan Royals

11

5

6

10

Royal Challengers Bangalore

11

4

7

8

Delhi Daredevils

12

3

9

6

Obviously, CSK has to lose their remaining two matches from here, against Delhi Daredevils (DD) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). That will keep them to 16. However, even that will not suffice. While SRH are ahead of them, at least three other teams need to reach 16 or more and have net run rate superior to CSK. Only then can CSK be eliminated. Consider this scenario:

Match Winner
MI vs RR MI
KXIP vs RCB KXIP
KKR vs RR KKR
MI vs KXIP MI
RCB vs SRH RCB
DD vs CSK DD
RR vs RCB RCB
SRH vs KKR KKR
DD vs MI MI
CSK vs KXIP KXIP

What will the points table look like after the matches are played with the above results? Let us look at the predicted points table.

IPL 2018 final points table (as per scenario)
SP = scenario points
  M W L P SP Total
Sunrisers Hyderabad

12

9

3

18

0

18

Chennai Super Kings

12

8

4

16

0

16

Kings XI Punjab

11

6

5

12

2

16

Kolkata Knight Riders

12

6

6

12

2

16

Mumbai Indians

11

5

6

10

3

16

Rajasthan Royals

11

5

6

10

0

10

Royal Challengers Bangalore

11

4

7

8

2

12

Delhi Daredevils

12

3

9

6

1

8

In this case, CSK will be tied with KXIP, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), and Mumbai Indians (MI). This, however, will not suffice: KXIP, KKR, and MI will all have to finish with net run rates above CSK. SRH, of course, are through.

This looks almost impossible (CSK’s net run rate is +0.38, KXIP’s -0.06, KKR’s -0.19, MI’s +0.52 at this point), but then, stranger things have happened in cricket.