Stunning Comebacks After Poor Starts to Make the Playoffs

IPL 2020 has seen the Kings XI Punjab win five in five, almost going through to the playoffs after a terrible start.

In the same season, we have now seen the Sunrisers do the same as they recovered from an inconsistent start to make the playoffs.

Let us now look at similar comebacks to the IPL playoffs from previous seasons.


RCB in 2009

After a slow start Royal Challengers made the playoffs and finished as runners


The Royal Challengers failed to make the playoffs in the first season and came into the second season with a lot to prove.

They opened their account with a victory, bowling the Royals out for 58.

The dominating victory, however, seemed just a one-time show.
The Royal Challengers lost the next four games, and it looked as though the team’s inconsistency in the first season was hurting them again.

Things were going wrong for them fast, but the Royal Challengers fought back with three wins in a row, followed by another two losses.
They won four of their first ten games and needed to win all their remaining games to qualify.

Through consistent performances from Manish Pandey, Jacque Kallis, and Praveen Kumar, won four in four to successfully make the IPL playoffs.
They went on to win the semi-finals against Chennai with ease but unfortunately finished as runners after losing to the Deccan Chargers.

CSK 2010


The Super Kings crashed out of IPL before making the playoffs for the first time in the history of the IPL this season.

The situation they were in left many thinking about how the Super Kings made a comeback in 2010.
In IPL 2010, the Super Kings got off to an abysmal start.

They won two out of seven games with stars like MS Dhoni and Matthew Hayden, not in their best form.

They needed some spark in the second half to gain any chance of qualification.

The spark was found in Murali Vijay, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, and Suresh Raina.
These four have been integral players for CSK, and with consistent performances, they ensured the team did not go down.

They won three in a row and then lost to the Deccan Chargers.
They then beat the Kolkata Knight Riders in a game that boosted their net-run-rate well.

Another loss to Delhi put them in a must-win scenario going into their last game against Punjab.
The match against Punjab was a big one and turned out to be a famous match as well.

With a steep chase to qualify, CSK were two down early and in deep trouble.
They got close to the target with Raina and Badrinath’s contributions, but it was the captain who did the job in the end.

Dhoni had an average tournament until the final league match and walked in with a high required rate.
He managed to find boundaries regularly and took the game down to the wire.

With 16 needed off six-ball, MS Dhoni successfully finished the match with two balls to spare.
He hit two massive sixes and was very animated after the victory.

It was a vital victory, and it gave CSK the momentum to go on and become the champions.

RCB 2011


Royal Challengers made a lot of changes to the side during the auction.
They retained only one player in Virat Kohli and purchased stars like Ab De Villiers.

Few games into the tournament, they also signed Chris Gayle as a replacement player.
Bangalore won their first game of the season but lost the next three.

They had one win in five games and were struggling.
Bangalore turned their season around beautifully from game six.

Chris Gayle came into the squad for the sixth game, and he found form instantly.
He made a century on his comeback and was very consistent throughout the tournament.

His form was crucial for Bangalore as they went on to win seven games in a row.
They lost their 13th game, but in their final group game against CSK, they performed a complete performance to show their dominance.

The bowlers showed up and rattled the top order while Chris Gayle chased down a low score with ease.
Royal Challengers not only qualified for the IPL playoffs but also finished first.

They finished first after a terrible start, which is what made their comeback memorable.


KKR 2014


IPL 2014 champions, Kolkata Knight Riders, dominated the season well on their way to the title.
While the side did seem to dominate the tournament, the run did not start quickly.

Kolkata Knight Riders had only two wins in seven matches and needed to do a lot to make the IPL playoffs.
They suffered a moral breaking defeat against the Royals as well.
Chasing 170, the side was cruising at 121 for no loss.

They lost six wickets over the next nine balls and completely lost control of the match.
The collapse allowed Rajasthan to win by ten runs, leaving KKR stunned.

It was an eye-opening defeat for the Knight Riders, who have been making some changes in their line-up.
They pushed Uthappa to the top of the order mid-way through the season, and he found success immediately.

Following a heartbreaking defeat, the Knight Riders came back very strong and won the next seven to finish the league stage in second.
They qualified for the IPL playoffs and won the title, with Robin Uthappa winning the orange cap after some consistent performances at the top.


MI 2014

Losing the first five games, Mumbai had an great turnaround to qualify for the playoffs


Mumbai in 2014 is one of the biggest IPL playoff stories in the tournament.


It started a new trend for Mumbai and allowed sides to retain hope when put in similar situations.

Mumbai lost their first five games and was nowhere in the points table.

Their situation didn’t get much better as the tournament continued as they won just three of the next five.

The Mumbai Indians were staring at elimination with just three wins in ten matches.

They didn’t give up as they went on to win the next three and were left needing a big win against the Royals to qualify and knock the Royals out of the IPL playoffs.

The job was not easy as they needed to chase down the target set in 14.3 overs.
The task was made tougher with Royals scoring 189, leaving Mumbai with 191 to get in 14.3 overs.

It was an unlikely chase for the Mumbai Indians.
Mike Hussey and Lendl Simmons got the side off to a quick start to give some hope to Mumbai.

Rayudu also hit 30 crucial runs with a good strike-rate.
The hero of the match, though, was Corey Anderson.

Corey Anderson was promoted as he is a big-hitter and went on to make 95 off just 44 balls.
His performance got Mumbai close, and he, along with Aditya Tare, who hit the finishing six, achieved the target.

They successfully chased down the target and qualified for the IPL playoffs.
They showed terrific fighting spirit to come back and won lots of hearts throughout the journey.

The Mumbai Indians followed the same trend in IPL 2015 as they won just two in seven games and came back with six wins in the next seven games to finish second.

They displayed fantastic character in the two seasons and were the champions in 2015.
They showed how the side never gives up and is always one to watch out for, regardless of the situation.

RCB 2016


The two times Bangalore made the IPL finals, they have done so after average league stages games, which allowed them to make the IPL playoffs.
2016 was no different.

They lost two out of the first seven games.
Chris Gayle didn’t look the force he once was while Ab De Villiers still didn’t get started.

Virat Kohli was in dream form, and he was crucial in the second-half surge.
Bangalore only lost one game in the next seven games, which helped them qualify for the IPL playoffs.

Virat Kohli had a dream season with 973 runs while KL Rahul also stepped up as a T20 batsman.

RR 2018


The Rajasthan Royals returned to the IPL after suspension and got off to a poor start.
They won three of the first nine games and looked at a quiet elimination before the IPL playoffs.

Looking to turn their tournament around, the Royals made a few changes, such as sending Butler to open the batting.

The change in position helped both Butler and Rajasthan as the side one four of its last five games to go through to the IPL playoffs.

SRH 2020


The Sunrisers Hyderabad struggled with a lot of injuries in 2020.
They lost three players, including their most experienced bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Along with the loss in personnel, they suffered quite a few defeats, which should have gone the other way.
Their collapse against the Royal Challengers and Kings XI while the defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders is three examples of games lost from a winning position.

The Kings XI, on the other hand, looked to make this list with five wins in a row but couldn’t win the last two, knocking themselves from the IPL playoffs.
Instead, the Sunrisers have pushed themselves into the list with a surprising qualification.

Not many expected Sunrisers to qualify after the season they had and the way they lost games.
The Sunrisers pulled themselves together well and won three must-win games in a row against the top three sides.

With four wins in the last five games, the Sunrisers qualified for the IPL playoffs ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders, who were in contention for the majority of the tournament.

The comeback is mainly due to consistency in the top order from Warner and Saha, while the bowlers have also stepped up nicely.
Bowling has always been the strength for the Sunrisers, and this year is no different.

Despite the loss of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the other bowlers have combined well to form a formidable unit.
The Sunrisers will now face off against the Royal Challengers in the eliminator.

They face a tough matchup against a powerful Bangalore side, which has looked better than ever with a balanced line-up.

The Sunrisers have surprised a lot from the tournament with the injuries they had, but now the task gets tougher and more challenging.

Sanjay Sanapoori

A mechanical engineering student, who has immense love for cricket. Been a fan of the game since 2009 and would love to stay involved with Cricket someway or the other.