Indian Premier League

IPL 2021: Playoffs Qualification Scenario for all Teams Explained

IPL 2021: Delhi Capitals and CSK pushing for the top 2 spots as we look at the playoffs qualification scenario for all the teams. 

In yet another competitive season, IPL 2021 has been witnessed a lot of close and thrilling matches as teams push for the play-off spots. Except for CSK and DC at the top, who have been unbeatable, all the other teams have also looked good, and solid enough to compete with other teams. 

CSK and Delhi Capitals are currently at the top 2 positions, and would be pushing for the top 2 spots at the end of group stages. RCB are in the third position with 6 wins from 10 games. Whereas KKR, PBKS, RR, and MI are at 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th position respectively with 8 points each. Finally, SRH are in 8th position with just 2 points. 

The beauty of the tournament is that mathematically, no team is qualified for the playoffs as yet, and no team is out of the play-off contention. Yes, you heard that right. According to this data, Neither CSK and DC have qualified norSRH are out of contention as yet. So, as we enter the final leg of the last 4 matches, let’s look at the playoffs Qualification Scenario of all the teams for IPL 2021. 

Delhi Capitals

M: 10 // P: 16 // NRR: +0.711

Next matches: KKR, MI, CSK, and RCB

The big question after Delhi Capitals’ thumping win over Rajasthan Royals is has Delhi Capitals become the first team to qualify for the play-offs? Well, they haven’t as yet. Delhi Capitals are at 16 points from 10 matches, and are almost on the doors of play-off spot. But, they have still not entered the door, and may need 1 more win to have a confirmed shot.

Assuming a scenario where Delhi lose all their matches, we can see CSK at 24 points, RCB at 20 points, and MI, DC, and KKR at 16 points each. The other three teams, RR, SRH, and PBKS at 10, 8, and 2 respectively. This is where Delhi Capitals’ NRR shall be important. If it falls below MI and KKR, they can be eliminated. But it is a far-fetched scenario that has less than 1% probability. 

What Delhi Capitals need to do to qualify for Play-offs:

A win from here shall make sure Delhi Capitals are 100% qualified. However, even if Delhi lose all from here, they just need to make sure, they lose it by small margins. 

Qualification Meter: Positive

Punjab Kings:

M: 10 // P: 8 // NRR: – 0.271

Next matches: MI, KKR, RCB, and CSK

A win against SRH have given Punjab Kings a breather in the competition, and a good chance of qualifying for the IPL 2021 play-off. PBKS are currently at 8 points from 10 matches with a negative NRR of -0.271. A team that has always been questioned for their baffled team selection would need stability in the team to get the best of its players.

Looking at the schedule of Punjab Kings for the next 4 matches, they face 3 of the toughest teams in the competition in the likes of MI, KKR, and CSK. Beating them all at once won’t be an easy task. PBKS can afford a loss against CSK or KKR, which should take them to 14 points; tied with Mumbai Indians. The final points tally for all teams in that scenario shall be CSK at 22 points, DC at 20 points, RCB at 16 points, PBKS and MI at 14 points, KKR and RR at 12 points, and SRH at 2 points.  

What Punjab Kings need to do to qualify for Play-offs:

PBKS need to win at least 3 of their remaining 4 matches with 2 big wins, and hope the NRR favors them and other teams have equal or fewer points. 

Qualification Meter: Neutral

Mumbai Indians

M: 10 // P: 8 // NRR: – 0.551

Next matches: PBKS, DC, RR, and SRH 

It has been an unlike Mumbai Indians performance this season from the team that has won the last two IPL trophies, and is targeting a hat-trick of IPL Trophy wins. The team has seen their middle-order woefully out of form as the stars of the IPL 2020 UAE campaign, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, and Krunal Pandya are finding it extremely difficult this time. 

As a result of the under-performance, Mumbai Indians are currently 7th on the points table with just 4 wins from 10 games at a negative NRR of – 0.551. This has been a poor start by MI in the last three years, where they dominated the group stage matches. But is there a silver lining for MI this season? 

Well, technically MI are very much in the contention for the play-off. If they manage to win all 4 with 1 big win, it should practically be good enough for them to qualify for the play-off. If they lose 1, they need to make sure, they need to manage at least 2 big wins. Looking at their pending fixtures, their toughest match would be against DC. 

Mumbai Indians IPL 2021 Playoffs Qualification Scenario:

Mumbai Indians need to win at least 3 matches win 2 big wins or win at least 4 matches with 1 big win to qualify for the play-off. 

Qualification Meter: Neutral 

Rajasthan Royals:

M: 9 // P: 8 // NRR: -0.319

Next matches: SRH, RCB, CSK, MI, and KKR

Rajasthan Royals started their UAE campaign with a last-ball win, but ended on the losing side in the second match against Delhi Capitals. However, with 8 points from 9 matches, RR are decently placed. But the worrying factor for them is their players’ form. Barring Sanju Samson in the batting, there haven’t been good contributions from other batsmen.

RR face decent opponents in their next 5 matches with CSK, MI, and KKR being the toughest ones. If RR win all 5, they will definitely qualify. A loss or two may still not hurt their chances, but then there would be other permutations and combinations. NRR shall come into picture, and RR might hope for other teams to be at 14 or below.   

What Rajasthan Royals need to do to qualify for Play-offs:

RR must win at least 3 of their remaining 5 matches to stay in the hunt. RR can afford a loss or two, but would then need to 1-2 big wins.  

Qualification Meter: Neutral

Kolkata Knight Riders:

M: 10 // P: 8 // NRR: +0.322

Next matches: DC, PBKS, SRH, and RR

After being 7th at the start of the UAE campaign, Kolkata Knight Riders started very well in UAE with back-to-back victories. But just as they were looking dangerous, CSK halted their progress with the last ball win. With that, KKR now have 8 points from 10 matches with a positive NRR of +0.322. 

KKR may not be worried too much as they are well in contention of the play-offs, but a loss from here shall worry the camp a bit. If CSK and DC are the top teams that are expected to finish in the top 2 with the maximum wins, KKR may find it easy to qualify at 16 points. Moreover, KKR have slightly weaker opponents to face, which should make their qualification a slightly easy affair.   

What KKR need to do to qualify for Play-offs:

KKR need to win at least 3 of their remaining 4 matches with 1 big win given their positive NRR to have a confirmed shot at the play-off spot.  

Qualification Meter: Positive

Royal Challengers Bangalore:

M: 10 // P: 12 // NRR: – 0.359

Next matches: RR, PBKS, SRH, and DC

Even as RCB are third on the points table with 12 points, they can’t breathe easy, and the main reason for that is their NRR of – 0.359. Not often you would see a team is ranked third, but carries such a hit negative NRR. Having started the 2021 campaign beautifully, RCB have had the worst start to their 2021 UAE campaign with 2 big losses. 

RCB have 4 matches left, and 3 of those 4 matches are relatively easier. The biggest match for them Shall be against Delhi Capitals. RCB shall be hoping to qualify for the play-off before that as an already qualified Delhi Capitals would be a big hurdle if they play a must-win encounter against them. 

What RCB need to do to qualify for play-offs:

RCB need to win 3 of their remaining 4 matches to qualify for the play-off. If they lose 2, they can still make it provided the fourth-ranked team has an inferior run rate. 

Qualification Meter: Positive

Chennai Super Kings:

M: 10 // P: 16 // NRR: +1.069

Next matches: SRH, RR, DC, and PBKS 

It would be unfair to doubt the Qualification of CSK for the play-off given their current form and a positive NRR of +1.069. CSK are currently in the first position with 8 wins from 10 matches. They have been the best team in the competition with good contributions from the departments. 

CSK face SRH, RR, DC, and PBKS as their next opponents, but of the 4, only DC are the one that can give a tough fight to the Whistle Podu gang. They are all but qualified unless they suffer 4 big losses, which brings their NRR in negative. However, the probability of that happening is less than 1%. 

What CSK need to do to qualify for Play-offs: 

CSK need to win at least 1 match  or make sure they don’t lose the remaining 4 matches by big margins to qualify for the play-offs.

Qualification Meter: Positive 

Sunrisers Hyderabad:

M: 9 // P: 2 // NRR: -0.637

Next matches: RR, CSK, KKR, RCB, and MI

As they say, there is always a light at the end of the Tunnel. But is there a light to the never-ending tunnel of SRH? Well, there definitely is. The team is down and exhausted with just a solitary win from 9 matches. Mathematically they are not out of the competition yet, but practically, they are. This is not the first time they are in this situation as they had qualified at 12 points in 2019 too. 

If we look at SRH’s last 5 matches. they shall be facing some tough teams in the form of CSK, MI, and RCB. Needless to say, they need to win all their remaining 5 matches. This should take them to 12 points. That should not be enough as they would need at least 2 teams to be at 12 or below and also hope the NRR of those teams is below that of SRH. 

What SRH need to do to Qualify for Play-offs:

Analyzing the schedule, SRH would hope that CSK and DC win at least 3 of their remaining 4 matches. Along with that, an ideal scenario would be where one of Mumbai Indians or RCB are at 14 points, and SRH is tied with RR and MI/RCB at 12 points, or SRH, MI, RCB, and RR are all tied at 12 points each.   

Qualification Meter: Negative

So, that’s how the playoffs qualification scenario for IPL 2021 stands as of September 27, 2021. 


Concluding the analysis, no team is completely qualified or is completely eliminated from IPL 2021 as yet. However, looking at the current form and points table Standings, CSK, Delhi Capitals, RCB, and KKR look the best teams to qualify for the Play-offs. 

Thanks for reading! Looking at the qualification scenario, which 4 teams do you think would qualify for the playoffs for IPL 2021? Please email your comments to

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