With Delhi Capitals defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets on Monday, both Delhi and Bangalore qualified for the IPL 2020 playoff, leaving Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad to fight it out for the last spot. Technically, only SRH to fight, with KKR having no control over their playoff fate after finishing the league stages with a win over RR and with 14 points. SRH, currently on 12 points, have to beat Mumbai Indians to knock KKR out of the fourth spot - which they currently hold. An SRH loss would mean KKR go through as the fourth-placed team in the league.
In 2019 both teams had faced a similar predicament with SRH eventually piping KKR on superior run-rate. Both teams had finished on 12 points in 2019, but SRH had a better NRR of +0.577 compared to KKR’s +0.028. This year also, SRH have a far better NRR than Kolkata.
However, the only difference from 2020 is that the fate of playoff qualification in 2019 did rest on KKR, similar to how it now rests with SRH. KKR played the final league game of the 2019 edition against Mumbai Indians and a win would have taken them over SRH on points, but they failed miserably losing the match by nine wickets. SRH, who had endured two losses in the last two league games, managed to go through owing to a better run-rate, with KKR left to rue.
This year, Mumbai has notched up 18 points - with possibility of adding two more - while Delhi has 16 and Bangalore and Kolkata have 14 points each. Bangalore occupy the third place due to its superior in net run-rate. An SRH win will catapult them over Bangalore with KKR slipping to fifth. An SRH lose will have the positions of the top four unchanged as of now.
In 2019, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai had 18 points each after the league stages. The fourth team was only decided from the last match and incidentally Mumbai Indians featured in 2019, and now in 2020. In 2019, MI dashed hopes of KKR while in 2020 they are KKR’s glimmer of hope.