The 2020 edition of the IPL has been an extremely competitive one. Till before match number 53 on day number 44 (Sunday, November 1, 2020), as many as six teams were still in the running for three play-off berths. That number has come down to four teams now, while the playoff slots open are still three.
There are just two league stage matches left now in IPL 2020 and we still don’t know for sure which three teams will join Mumbai Indians in the playoffs this season. The picture of course will be clearer after the DC vs RCB match tonight. As of now, there are three teams on 14 points (DC, RCB & KKR), with a fourth possible (SRH who play MI on Tuesday are on 12 points currently).
This season has been the most competitive season of the IPL ever, with the bottom placed team also finishing with as many as 12 points (6 wins). Last season in 2019, SRH entered the playoffs as the fourth team with 12 points.
Over the years, depending on how the season has progressed and how the teams have done, the minimum number of points required to enter the last four have varied.
So far in the 12 completed editions of the IPL, there have been 9 which have been 8 team seasons. The 2011 season had 10 teams, while the 2012 and 2013 seasons had nine teams.
Traditionally, in the 8 team seasons, which has seen every team play 14 league matches, 16 has been a cut off for the fourth spot, however there have also been instances of a team making the final four with 14 and sometimes as low as 12 points.
Here’s a quick recap of how the points accumulated by teams who qualified for the play-offs since the inaugural edition in 2008 has varied from season to season:
2008 – Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 15
In the very first edition of the IPL, the unfancied Rajasthan Royals team, under Shane Warne‘s captaincy went on to win the title. It wasn’t a surprise really, since the Royals dominated the league stage, finishing on top of the table with 22 points (11 wins in 14 games). Since then there has been only one team which has managed to accumulate 22 points in the league stage (Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 season). Punjab finished as the second best team in the league stage in 2008 with 20 points, followed by CSK who got 16 points. Delhi Capitals clinched the fourth spot with 15 points (one of their matches was abandoned). So in this season 15 was good enough for a team to enter the play-offs.
2009 – Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 14
That number fell to 14 in the next edition of the IPL played in South Africa in 2009. In this edition the league toppers were the Delhi Capitals with 20 points. CSK took the second spot with 17 points, followed by RCB with 16. Deccan Chargers, who eventually went on to win the title, were in fact fourth on the points table after the league stage and qualified with 14 points, pipping Kings XI Punjab, who also had 14 points on NRR.
2010 – Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 14
14 was the cut-off for qualification in the 2010 edition of the IPL as well. But this season was interesting because as many as four teams (CSK, RCB, DC and KKR) finished on 14. CSK and RCB were the ones who made the playoffs due to superior net run rates. Mumbai Indians were the table toppers with 20 points, while the erstwhile Deccan Chargers were second on the table with 16 points. Chennai went on to win the title.
2014 – Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 14
In the next edition in 2014, the minimum point cut-off for a play-off berth was again 14. However, this time there were two teams who finished on 14 points, with Mumbai Indians beating Rajasthan Royals on NRR to take the fourth slot. Kings XI Punjab, who were the eventual runners-up topped the table with 22 points, with KKR, who won the title in 214 finishing second with 18 points. Chennai also had 18 points, but had to take third spot, due to a worse NRR than Kolkata.
2015: Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 16
In the 2015 edition the minimum cut-off points went up to 16. There was a three way tie on points, with MI, RCB and RR all finishing on 16 points. These three teams became teams 2,3 and 4 on the points table. KKR missed out with 15 points and had to be content with a 5th place finish. CSK topped the table with 18 points. Mumbai went on to win the title.
2016: Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 16
In the next season in 2016, the minimum a team needed for a playoff berth was once again 16. RCB, SRH and KR were all tied on 16 points and that’s how they finished on the points table as the second, third and fourth teams. Gujarat Lions topped the table with 18 points. MI and DC, who finished with 14 points each were 5th and 6th. Hyderabad went on to win the title.
2017: Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 16
In the 2017 edition only KKR finished with 16 points and that helped them take the fourth spot on the points table. Punjab were 5th with 14 points. MI, who topped the table and went on to win the title had 20 points, followed by RPSG who had 18 points and SRH who had 17.
2018: Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 14
The minimum points required for a play-off berth again fell to 14 points in the next edition in 2018. RR made the final four cut with 14. KKR had 16 points and were third, CSK finished second with 18 points and eventually went on to win the title. Hyderabad were the table toppers after the league stage. They also had 18 points, but had a slightly better NRR than CSK.
2019: Minimum point cut-off for play-off berth: 12
The minimum number of points a team needed to qualify for the last four in the 2019 edition of the tournament was incredibly 12. There were in fact three teams who were tied on 12 points (SRH, KKR and KXIP). SRH made the final four c due to a superior NRR. Also incredibly, the top three teams were all tied on 18 points each. MI took first place, CSK second and DC third according to their individual NRRs. And to think that this season, in 2020, Rajasthan Royals with 12 points is at the bottom of the table.