IPL 2023 | How Lucknow Super Giants can qualify for Indian Premier League playoffs

IPL 2023 | How Lucknow Super Giants can qualify for Indian Premier League playoffs

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An expressionless Gautam Gambhir during an LSG match in IPL 2023



Lucknow Super Giants were immediately touted as title contenders after the mega auction in 2022 but have so far failed to live up to the promise despite occasional flirting with the top spots. Now, with skipper KL Rahul also missing, the franchise has its task cut out to stay alive in the season.

With nine wins and a third-placed finish, Lucknow Super Giants scripted an impressive first chapter of their history which came to an end with a loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator. Even though they could not match the title-winning run of fellow debutantes Gujarat Titans, the UP-based side set down a strong marker of what they aspire to achieve in the coming years led by the charismatic KL Rahul. However, things have not panned out the way they would have liked so far in 2023, plagued by inconsistency and mediocrity.

While the return of the home-away format was set to offer teams the huge advantage of moulding surfaces at venues to their liking, LSG have emerged as perhaps the only franchise that’d rather do away with such a thing. Stand-in skipper Krunal Pandya, who has been leading the side after KL Rahul was ruled out midway through the tournament with an injury, admitted he had no idea what to expect in the name of ‘home conditions’, the comment underlining the side’s three successive losses at the Ekana Cricket Stadium. The disastrous run has left them in fourth, with 13 points to their name and a net run rate of 0.309, right amidst an intense battle for the final playoff spots but with their fate in their own hands. With two fixtures remaining for the side against fellow contenders Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, here is a look at what chances the team has of making it to the playoffs across different scenarios.

If LSG win both their games

Lucknow Super Giants’ recent no-result against Chennai Super Kings – the only abandoned game of the tournament so far – has handed the side a significant advantage over its rivals. Not only does the team have a point extra despite having the same number of wins as Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings, but the odd number of points also eliminates the net run rate factor given only Chennai can match their tally and not surpass or lag behind. Thus, two wins for LSG would take them to an unsurpassable 17 points as far as all teams below them in the table are concerned, while Mumbai Indians would also fall behind them with a maximum haul of 16 points, paving the way for LSG to finish at least third spot if not top-two.

If LSG lose both their games

In such a case, Gujarat Titans, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, who occupy the top three spots with 16, 15, and 14 points respectively, would already be out of reach for Lucknow since they’ll end up on just 13 points. Unfortunately, the side is bound to lose out on the fourth spot as well given Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings, both of whom have 12 points to their name at present, have a head-to-head clash remaining in the tournament. Whichever team emerges the victory would improve its tally to 14 points and overtake LSG, mathematically ruling them out of contention.

If LSG win and lose a game apiece

A solitary victory for LSG in the remained of the league would take them to 15 points, ensuring KKR, SRH and DC are out of the conversation since none of the trio has enough games in store to go beyond that mark. On the other hand, Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings would secure safety from LSG’s clutches, given the former is already on 16 points while CSK’s superior net run rate of 0.493 should prove to be enough even if they stay stuck on the current tally of 15 points once the league stage ends. That would leave Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Punjab Kings in battle with the Super Giants for two playoff spots.

Firstly, Rajasthan hold the key for Lucknow’s qualification in such a scenario, since they have face-offs against both Bangalore and Punjab as their two remaining fixtures. Should the Royals emerge victorious in both, they would surge to 16 points – even though that would eliminate both RCB and PBKS who could then only go up to 14 points, it would set the stage for MI who would just need to win against LSG or SRH to end up on 16 points and clinch the final playoff spot. Thus, in such a scenario, the only way Lucknow will be able to qualify is if they first beat Mumbai and then hope the five-time champions lose to Hyderabad.

Alternatively, if Rajasthan win and lose a game each, they’ll only make it to 14 points, as will whoever they triumph against, be it RCB or PBKS, ensuring two of these three teams are eliminated from the picture. Thus, with Mumbai and one of Bangalore or Punjab still in the hunt, Lucknow would need either the former to lose both their fixtures or Bangalore/Punjab to lose any of their remaining games.

To put it in the simplest of terms possible, a loss each for any three of MI, RCB, RR, and PBKS, meaning only one of the four wins in all their upcoming games, would confirm Lucknow Super Giants a playoff berth with 15 points in their kitty.

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