IPL playoffs format 2023: The final four explained

It's that time of the year again – IPL cricket is heating up, and the four teams in the playoffs have been decided. For those who are unsure of how the IPL playoffs format 2023 works, then never fear, because below we explain everything in detail.

Gujarat Titans, led by Hardik Pandya, became the first team to make their way through to the playoffs and they will now take on CSK in the final of IPL 2023.

The defending champions ensured a berth in the top two after they reached 18 points. Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Mumbai Indians (MI) and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) were the other three teams, who took part in the playoffs. Lucknow were knocked out after the loss to Mumbai in the eliminator.

The Super Kings qualified for their 12th playoff in 14 seasons. They went on to win Qualifier 1 against Gujarat Titans to make an entry into their 10th final in 14 attempts. The Titans also know how to hold their nerve in knockout matches, and will be back to play the final after a win in Qualifier 2. MI lost to Gujarat in Qualifier 2 to crash out of the season.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) had their fair share of chances but failed to capitalize on them.

As the IPL heads into the playoffs, we answer the question: how do the IPL 2023 playoffs work? In this article we take a deeper look at the IPL 2023 playoff format as well as the previous IPL playoff format, with everything you need to know about the IPL playoffs explained.

IPL playoffs 2023: Latest qualification scenarios and predictions

IPL playoffs explained

The IPL is known for bringing innovation in the game of cricket.

One such change came in 2011 with the IPL playoffs format. For the first three seasons, two semi-finals followed the group stage, giving all four teams equal chances of reaching the final. 

However, this seemed unfair to the top two teams from the league stage. Despite their exceptional performance throughout, one loss in the semi-finals would abruptly end their campaign, undermining the significance of their impressive tournament journey.

The introduction of the new playoffs format added an extra game before the IPL final, resulting in three games to determine the finalists.

IPL playoffs format 2023
Photo by Icon Sports

The top two teams competed in the first semifinal, with the winner advancing directly to the final. However, the losing team remained in contention. The third and fourth-placed teams played the eliminator, with the loser being eliminated. The winner then faced the losing team from the first semifinal in the second qualifier, and the victorious team qualified for the final.

The same will be in use as the IPL playoffs format 2023. 

How do the IPL 2023 playoffs work?

Here’s how the IPL playoff format 2023 will unfold.

The BCCI has revealed the timetable for the IPL 2023 playoffs and grand finale. Taking place in Chennai and Ahmedabad, the playoffs and final are scheduled from May 23rd to May 28th, 2023. 

  • May 23rd – Qualifier 1 Final
  • May 24th – Eliminator Final
  • May 26th – Qualifier 2 Final
  • May 28th – IPL Final

The opening match will be Qualifier 1 on May 23rd at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, followed by the Eliminator on May 24th. Qualifier 2 and the highly anticipated TATA IPL final will be held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on May 26th and May 28th respectively. 

IPL playoffs format 2023: Match by match

Qualifier 1 Final

In a gripping encounter at Chennai's home ground, the charismatic MS Dhoni led his Chennai Super Kings to a thrilling victory over the defending champions, Gujarat Titans, by a margin of 15 runs. The Qualifier 1 match had the crowd on the edge of their seats as CSK defended a modest total of 173.

CSK's bowlers stepped up to the challenge and showcased their brilliance. The enigmatic Ravindra Jadeja was the standout performer, picking up crucial wickets with his accurate and economical bowling. His figures of 2 for 18 in his four overs left the Titans struggling to chase down the target.

Earlier in the match, the Titans had put up a solid bowling performance, making life difficult for the CSK batsmen on a tricky pitch. The slow surface hampered the Super Kings' ability to score freely, resulting in a modest total of 172 for 7.

However, the resilient CSK side showed their mettle and fought back with determination. Their bowlers, backed by the tactical genius of Dhoni, bowled with precision and discipline, stifling the Titans' batting lineup and ultimately securing their place in the final.

As the Super Kings continue their quest for a fifth IPL title, this season holds even more significance, as it could potentially be the swansong for the legendary MS Dhoni. The team's victory in the Qualifier 1 keeps their dreams alive and leaves fans eagerly awaiting the final showdown.

READ: Who will win the Orange Cap in IPL 2023?

IPL Eliminator Final

In a thrilling Eliminator match of IPL 2023, the Mumbai Indians emerged victorious against the Lucknow Super Giants by a massive margin of 81 runs. Mumbai Indians, the five-time champions, showcased their dominance in the game, leaving Lucknow Super Giants struggling to keep up.

Batting first, Mumbai Indians set a challenging target of 183 runs, thanks to valuable contributions from Cameron Green (41) and crucial knocks by other batsmen. Lucknow Super Giants' bowling was spearheaded by Naveen-ul-Haq, who picked up four wickets for 38 runs, and Yash Thakur, who took three wickets for 34 runs.

Chasing the target, Lucknow Super Giants suffered a major collapse, going from 74 for 3 to 101 all out. Marcus Stoinis top-scored with 40 runs, but Akash Madhwal from Mumbai Indians stole the show with exceptional figures of 5 for 5 in just 3.3 overs, including a couple of wickets in consecutive balls. Lucknow Super Giants' batting was marred by run-outs and poor shot selection.

Mumbai Indians displayed their dominance throughout the match, hitting boundaries at crucial moments and capitalizing on the opposition's mistakes. They cruised to a comfortable victory and advanced to Qualifier 2, just two wins away from another IPL title.

IPL Qualifier 2 Final

In the IPL 2023 layoffs format, the Qualifier 2 Final serve as a second chance for teams that have previously lost in the Qualifier 1 Final.

The Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2023 playoff format took place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on 26th May and was played between Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians.

In a thrilling encounter, Shubman Gill's magnificent century propelled the Gujarat Titans to a resounding 62-run victory over the Mumbai Indians, securing their spot in the IPL 2023 final. Gill's scintillating knock of 129 runs off just 60 deliveries left the Mumbai bowlers helpless and powered the Titans to an imposing total of 233 for 3.

Chasing the mammoth target, Mumbai fought valiantly, with Suryakumar Yadav's brilliant 61 keeping them in the hunt. However, Mohit Sharma's exceptional spell of 5 for 10 proved to be the turning point, as Mumbai fell short, getting bundled out for 171. The Titans, led by Gill's once-in-a-generation brilliance, will now face the Chennai Super Kings in the title clash, aiming to defend their IPL crown.

READ: Top emerging player of IPL 2023

IPL Final 2023

The IPL 2023 final is the culmination of the playoffs and will determine the champion of the IPL 2023 season. The top two teams from the league stage that will either qualify directly for the final or compete in the second Qualifier gain a spot. 

The final of the IPL 2023 will take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on 28th May and will be played between Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans.

Feel like you have the IPL playoffs explained already? Check out this article on our IPL playoffs qualification scenarios.

Past winners of the IPL

Several teams have achieved remarkable success in the IPL, displaying consistent performances over the years.

Year Winner Runner-up
2008 Rajasthan Royals Chennai Super Kings
2009 Deccan Chargers Royal Challengers Bangalore
2010 Chennai Super Kings Mumbai Indians
2011 Chennai Super Kings Royal Challengers Bangalore
2012 Kolkata Knight Riders Chennai Super Kings
2013 Mumbai Indians Chennai Super Kings
2014 Kolkata Knight Riders Kings XI Punjab
2015 Mumbai Indians Chennai Super Kings
2016 Sunrisers Hyderabad Royal Challengers Bangalore
2017 Mumbai Indians Rising Pune SuperGiants
2018 Chennai Super Kings Sunrisers Hyderabad
2019 Mumbai Indians Chennai Super Kings
2020 Mumbai Indians Delhi Capitals
2021 Chennai Super Kings Kolkata Knight Riders
2022 Gujarat Titans Rajasthan Royals

The Mumbai Indians stand out as the most successful franchise, having secured the title a record-breaking five times. Chennai Super Kings have been dominant, reaching the playoffs in every season they have participated and clinching the title four times. Kolkata Knight Riders have also tasted success, winning the championship twice.

The Rajasthan Royals, Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Titans have won it once. The Punjab Kings, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore still await their first title. Here is a look at the winners and runners-up of every IPL season.

How do the IPL 2023 playoffs work
Photo by Icon Sport

Why is the IPL playoffs format better than other formats?

The IPL playoffs format introduced in 2011 has brought several advantages over the previous format, making it more captivating and fair for the teams involved.

Here are the reasons why the IPL playoffs format is considered better:

  1. More opportunities: In the previous format, teams finishing third and fourth had limited chances to progress, as they faced direct elimination in the semifinals. The new playoffs format offers these teams an extra opportunity to reach the final through the Eliminator and Qualifiers, ensuring that their efforts in the league stage are not in vain.
  2. Rewarding consistency: The top two teams in the league stage are rewarded with the chance to directly qualify for the final. This acknowledges their consistent performances throughout the tournament and provides them with a tangible advantage. It also reduces the risk of an early exit due to a single bad performance in the playoffs.
  3. Second chances: The Qualifier 2 offers the losing team from the first Qualifier another opportunity to reach the final. This adds an element of redemption and fairness, giving a deserving team another chance to prove their mettle and potentially secure a place in the final.

Most of all, the IPL playoffs format 2023 is fantastic to watch, so make sure to tune in over the coming days as these exhilarating matches unfold.


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India