Since SRH won the title in 2016, as many as five titles have been shared between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings from 2017 to 2021.
This season though, both Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have already been eliminated from the playoffs race. After their narrow 2 run loss vs LSG on Wednesday, in what was one of the best matches of the season, KKR also found themselves officially out of the running. That makes it three former champions and the three most successful teams in the history of the tournament ruled out of contention for the title this year.
And that presents a very interesting possibility. We could very well have a brand new IPL champion this time.
As things stand currently – GT and LSG (the two brand new teams) have already made it to the final four. Out of the 5 remaining teams who are still technically in the running for a playoff berth, as many as three have never won the title. These teams are Delhi Capitals (currently 4th on the points table), Royal Challengers Bangalore (currently 5th on the points table) and Punjab Kings (currently 7th on the points table).
The two teams who have won the title in the past and are still eligible for a playoff berth are Rajasthan Royals (champions in 2008) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (champions in 2016).
As of the morning of Thursday, May 19th these are the chances of all these teams:
- DC’s chances of making it to the top four slots on points remain at 75%. Their best case scenario is to win their last game against MI and RR and RCB losing their games against CSK and GT. That would put them tied for third on 16 points with RR and ensure qualification. Even if they lose their last game to MI, they can still finish joint fourth if GT beats RCB. They will then be in a tie for fourth with RCB and the winner of the SRH-PBKS game.
- RCB’s chances of making it to one of the top four slots also remain at 75%. Their best case scenario is to win their last game and hope that RR and DC lose to CSK and MI respectively. That would leave them tied for third at 16 points with RR. Even if they lose their last game, they could finish joint fourth with DC and the winner of the SRH-PBKS game.
- RR is certain to finish second or third on the points table. Their best case scenario is winning against CSK. That would leave them in joint second spot on 18 points with LSG. But even if they lose to CSK, they can qualify by occupying sole third spot (if MI beat DC and GT beat RCB) or tie for third spot with RCB or DC or both. If it’s a three-way tie it would come down to net run rates.
- SRH’s and PBKS’ chances of finishing in the top four spots on points remain at 12.5%. Either can do that by winning their last game against each other, if RCB lose their last match to GT and DC lose to MI. If that happens, the winner of the SRH-PBKS game will finish with 14 points and be joint fourth with DC and RCB.
Realistically, SRH and PBKS’ chances are very slim, with RR and either DC or RCB likely to take up the remaining two spots in the playoffs.
Going by the hypothesis that SRH don’t make the cut and RR do, then RR will be the only former champions in the running for the title, regardless of who between DC and RCB take the final playoff berth.
The two new teams (GT and LSG) doing remarkably well in their maiden season of course has also boosted the chances of this hypothesis.
A brand new IPL champion this year? Yes, that’s very possible indeed.