Can a team qualify by winning just the six games out of 14? If there was a poll on this question 90% of the votes would be cast for a "No". But it seems that SRH has made the seemingly impossible into a real-time scenario.
SRH became the first team ever to qualify for the playoffs with 12 points. The qualification of SRH into the playoffs highlights the importance of net run rate.
At the end of the final week of the league phase, three teams stood at 12 points each SRH, KKR, and KXIP. But courtesy of the net run rate the orange army edged through the other two teams.
When the final week began none of the teams were really out of the contention for playoffs, apart from RCB. Even RR had an outside chance of qualifying.
After CSK, DC and MI (virtually qualified) qualified, the top three contenders who could qualify with a certain amount of permutation and combination and wins were KKR, KXIP, and SRH.
As the week panned out, RR was out of the race for playoffs, even mathematically, after they had to settle for a draw against RCB. While the other two teams were still in contention for a good portion of the team. But both the teams lost the crucial matches which they had to win by big margins to catch with the SRH run rate
SRH, on the other hand, lost two league phase games against MI and RCB respectively. Despite the losses, the orange army managed to qualify which shows the importance of taking matches deep and, if winning is not in the card on a given day, then the margin of defeat should be minimized to reap the benefit of a healthy run rate at the later stage.
In the first qualifier, MI will meet CSK on Tuesday, while DC's will be up against SRH on the following day.
As MI sneaked above CSK to attain the first spot, DC have to settle for the third spot and will not have the leverage of losing a match and still making it to finals.
Image Cr- IPL/SRH official