Playoffs qualification is always the first priority of the IPL teams and you want to qualify for the playoffs as early as possible as it then gives you a lot of freedom in terms of rotating your players.
In the ongoing edition of the IPL so far, only Mumbai Indians have qualified for the playoffs and there are only couple of days left in the preliminary round. Let’s have a look who qualified for the playoffs first in the previous editions of the IPL.
2008 (Rajasthan Royals)
It was Rajasthan Royals who qualified for the playoffs first in the inaugural edition of the IPL and they eventually topped the table as well with as many as 22 points. Rajasthan then went on to beat Chennai Super Kings in the final to become the first ever IPL champions under the captaincy of Shane Warne.
2009 (Delhi Daredevils)
Delhi Daredevils were the first to enter the IPL playoffs in 2009 as they won 10 out of their 14 group games, but they couldn’t even reach the final of the tournament as they were beaten in the semi-final and since, there were no qualifiers and eliminators at that stage, Delhi’s campaign ended with just one defeat in the semis.
2010 (Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians had a great run in IPL 2010 as they absolutely cruised to the playoffs and then made it to the final as well, but sadly for them, their glorious streak was ended in the final by their arch rivals Chennai Super Kings (CSK) who won their first trophy in 2010.
2011 (Chennai Super Kings)
Chennai Super Kings were the reigning champions in IPL 2011 and they played like reigning champions as well as they won 9 out of their 14 games and with one extra point because of an abandoned game, they reached the playoffs with 19 points. CSK then reached the final and successfully defended their title by beating Royal Challengers Bangalore.
2012 (Delhi Daredevils)
Delhi Daredevils had a very dominant run in IPL 2012 again as they won 11 games in the group stage and reached the playoffs. Because of the fact that they topped the table, they got two chances in the playoffs, but Delhi lost two playoff games on the trot and once again got eliminated from the tournament without reaching the final.
2013 (Chennai Super Kings)
This was the fifth consecutive time that CSK made the playoffs, but they were the first one to do that in this particular season, however CSK’s campaign didn’t end well in that tournament at all as they were beaten by Mumbai Indians in the final to end runners up.
2014 (Kings XI Punjab)
Kings XI Punjab entered this season as the underdogs, but they absolutely dominated the tournament and not only they were the first ones to reach the playoffs, they then reached the final as well. However, they were beaten in the finals by the eventual champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
2015 (Chennai Super Kings)
CSK as usual were very consistent in the preliminary round of the IPL and were the first to secure their place in top 4, but that season also ended as the 2013 season with Mumbai easily beating CSK in the final to win their second trophy.
2016 (Gujarat Lions)
Gujarat Lions were a new franchise in IPL 2016 and in their very first season, they made it to the playoffs before any other team, but they also lost two games in the playoffs just like Delhi Daredevils in 2012 and failed to reach the final.
2017 (Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians generally start slow in the tournament, but this was one season where they were at the top of their game right from the word go and not only did they make the playoffs first, they eventually won the tournament by beating Pune Warriors India in the final.
2018 (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Sunrisers Hyderabad put on an inspiring show in IPL 2018 even without their main batsman David Warner and made it to the playoffs first with 9 wins in 14 games, but they had to end up as the runners up as CSK got better of them in the final to win their third trophy.
2019 (Chennai Super Kings)
Chennai Super Kings didn’t really look a balanced line-up in 2019, but they were still one of the top teams in the preliminary round and made it to the playoffs with 18 points, but they were beaten in the final by Mumbai Indians who won their fourth trophy with that triumph.