The business end of IPL 2021 is indeed getting very interesting. 44 of the 56 league stage matches have now been completed.
Shankar Raghuraman of TOI has done the calculations to show the probabilities of each team qualifying after Thursday’s game, assuming that in any given match the chances of winning or losing are 50-50.
The analysis also ignores net run rates, since, with three games left for each team, current NRRs could change quite a bit.
Here are all the playoff possibilities for the remaining 7 teams, after SRH were eliminated, with 12 league stage matches left to play:
1) CSK, who are the current table toppers with 18 points in 11 games, are not only through to the playoffs, they also have a 99.2% chance of finishing in one of the top two slots or at least tying on points for one of them.
2) DC meanwhile are sure to finish no lower than tied third on points and their chances of being first or second, singly or jointly with another team, are a pretty high 85%.
3) RCB now have an incredibly high 99.8% chance of being in the top four on points, though in some scenarios they would be tied for the fourth slot. They have a 41% chance of ending up among the top two or tying for one of them.
4)KKR’s chances of ending up in of the top four on points stay at 57%, but the CSK win on Thursday means their chances of grabbing one of the top two spots are now negligible, with just 16 out of the 4,096 possible scenarios (a 0.4% chance) ending with them tied for second place.
5) MI too have a 57% chance of finishing the league stage among the top four on points. Like KKR, their chances of grabbing one of the top two slots have receded and now stand at 0.8%.
6)PBKS meanwhile have a 19.3% chance of making it to the top four on points, but cannot get to either of the top two slots.
7) RR’s chances of being among the top four on points at the end of the league stage remain at 22% and they too cannot do any better than tie for third spot. Even that is a mere 1.6% chance.
8) So, it’ll be CSK, DC and RCB battling it out for the top slot and almost certainly also for the second spot.
How are we arriving at these probabilities?
The process starts with listing out every possible scenario that remains in terms of combination of individual match outcomes. As of Friday morning (October 1), with 12 games left to play, that means 4,096 (two possibilities for the first game, each of which has two for the next game and so on, yielding a total of 2 raised to the power 12 or 4,096). We then look at what each scenario means in terms of the final points tally for each team and what rank that puts them at (ignoring NRR, which cannot be forecast in advance). The probabilities for each team are then calculated by dividing the number of scenarios in which it finishes in the top four by the total number of possible scenarios, as of now 4,096, and multiplying by 100.
Teams that are on the same number of points can have different probabilities because of what matches they have left and also how matches involving other teams affect their final placing. For instance. PBKS’s remaining matches are against CSK, KKR and RCB, whereas RR plays CSK, KKR and MI. Beating CSK helps both teams in adding to their points, but doesn’t pull down a potential rival since CSK cannot be caught by either team. Beating KKR would be invaluable for both teams because not only would it add two points to their tally, it would also stop a close rival (now just two points ahead of them) from getting ahead. For RR, that is true also of the match against MI, but for PBKS, the match against RCB would not serve the same purpose since the latter is six points clear. That’s why RR’s chances are just a little better despite being on the same number of points as PBKS.
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