Less than 50 per cent of the 2021 IPL had been completed before it was suspended on May 4 with the standings delicately poised.

Only 29 of the 56 league matches had been played, with four more play-off matches to follow, meaning that there is plenty of time for strugglers to get back into contention and high-flyers to drop out of the qualifying positions altogether. Chennai Super Kings are the favourites to win it in the latest IPL betting.

Yet results from over half of the group-stage matches do give us some steer on the most likely outcomes come October 15, when the IPL trophy will be lifted for the 14th time.

Based on data from the last six editions of the competition, we establish what the first 29 matches of the IPL tells us about which teams are most likely to qualify for the play-offs and win the final, and which individuals are a good bet for the Orange and Purple Caps.

IPL standings


Based on this data, only one team can be discounted from qualifying for the play-offs and giving themselves a shot at winning the IPL.

In the last six years, the eighth-placed side after 29 matches has never managed to finish the league stage in the top four, so Sunrisers Hyderabad look finished in this year’s competition.

For everybody else, the tournament is alive and kicking.

In 2015, Mumbai Indians were in seventh place with two wins and five defeats after match 29, but won six of their next seven to finish second in the league table, and then won the trophy.

Mumbai are the most successful team in IPL history, but it would be wrong to rule out Kolkata Knight Riders, seventh in the 2021 table, making a comeback.

Although sitting seventh and above keeps you in contention, it’s clearly preferable to be at the top of the league at this stage.

In the last six campaigns, the side leading the way after match 29 has never failed to qualify for the top four, has gone on to finish top of the league five times and has won the tournament twice – more than any other position.

Delhi Capitals, who lead the way in 2021, should therefore be certainties to qualify for the knock-out stages.

Though teams filling up the rest of the top four are in a good position – teams in each position have qualified in four of the six tournaments since 2015 – they are also vulnerable.

Only once in those six campaigns have the teams filling the top four spots at this stage been the same teams in the top four by the end of the league fixtures.

That means that in the 2021 tournament, one of Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians are likely to drop out.

With Sunrisers out of the reckoning, at least one of Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders should qualify.

Orange Cap


The competition for the top run-scorer looks to be much more limited.

In the last six campaigns, 14 players have come from outside the top five after match 29 to finish inside it, but none of them have ever won the Orange Cap.

Indeed, only players inside the top three run-scorers at this stage of the competition have scooped the prize.

That leaves just three players in the running for this year’s award: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Faf du Plessis.

Three of the last six players who were second at this stage have gone on to top the standings by the end of the competition, meaning that it is advantage Rahul, but all three batsmen are capable of doing it.

No Orange Cap leader after match 29 has ever fallen out of the top five completely, meaning that we can expect to at least see Dhawan figure in the top few positions.

Nobody else is sure to be in there by the time the competition ends on October 15.

Purple Cap


It only takes one good day with the ball to get into contention for the Purple Cap, so it isn’t surprising that history reveals this race to be a little more open.

Not by much, though, with all of the last six highest wicket-takers figuring in the top five of the race after match 29.

While previous winners have been second, third, fourth and fifth at this stage, the player at the top of the table has gone on to win the award twice.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Harshal Patel, then, is the likeliest man to claim the prize, with Avesh Khan, Chris Morris, Rahul Chahar and Rashid Khan all standing a chance.

Like in the race for the Orange Cap, no player to top the standings after match 29 has ever fallen out of the top five completely, so Patel is a certainty to be in the picture come the end of the tournament.

Bizarrely, players in second, fourth and fifth have fallen out of the top five as often as they have stayed in it over the last six years, so Avesh, Chahar and Rashid should all be looking over their shoulders.