It has been unlike any other Indian Premier League season for Chennai Super Kings. By this time around in the league stage, MS Dhoni's men are most likely find themselves just a step away from playoffs qualification, one they haven't missed in any of their 10 IPL appearances, a feat only CSK have been recognised for. Yet, in a year that they call it as 2020, CSK find themselves in a spot of uncertainty. Some poor selection calls, lack of intent and notable absentees have resulted in Chennai languishing at the bottom of the points table with seven defeats and three wins in their 10 matches. Such has been their state that even their skipper MS Dhoni, the pioneer of CSK's famous bouncebackability, has conceded that season is over for Chennai. But mathematically, Chennai are still well in the competition to make it to the playoffs.
How can CSK still finish in the top four?
They still have matches left against Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, where only KKR seem a bit topsy-turvy at the moment owing to their poor batting. Mumbai and RCB stand in the third and second respectively in the points table while KXIP are on the resurrection path.
Well, for starters, CSK, who are presently on six points, need to win all their remaining four games which will push their tally to 14. But that is not all that will assure them a playoffs berth. The top two teams - Delhi Capitals and RCB - both on 14 points, along with Mumbai (12 points), will have to maintain their dominance at the top of the table by extending their winning tally. KKR with 10 points from 10 games will have to win only one of their next four games. SRH and KXIP with eight points each from 10 games can win only two of their next four matches while Rajasthan Royals on as many points from 11 games will have to manage the same.
There might just be a possibility where the fourth place is tied between multiple teams on 14 points, which is when NRR will come into play. Hence, victories by comprehensive margins in their remaining four matches will serve as a brownie point.
Will CSK be eliminated if they lose against Mumbai Indians on Friday?
Again, mathematically, no. In such a scenario, CSK will have to aim for victories in their next three games which would leave them with 12 points. SRH had qualified for the playoffs with 12 points last season. But with that, they need to see that the top three wins their matches, KKR lose all their games and SRH, KXIP and RR afford only one wins in their remaining matches.