After 56 league games in the 2019 Indian Premier League, the four teams making it to the playoff stages are finally determined. Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad are the four teams to have made it to the last four. Chennai Super Kings were the first team to seal their spot in the knockouts, followed by Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians. However, the battle for the fourth spot was not finalised until the last league game involving Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede stadium. There was not only plenty at stake for Kolkata Knight Riders, but also for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In the end, Mumbai Indians did Sunrisers Hyderabad massive favour by beating Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets. The win not only knocked Kolkata Knight Riders out of the tournament, but it ensured Sunrisers Hyderabad had sealed the fourth and final spot. Both Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad were level on 12 points, but Sunrisers Hyderabad’s brilliant net run-rate of +0.57 was more than enough to secure qualification ahead of both Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab.
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s tally of 12 points is the lowest a team has ever needed to qualify for the playoffs. It needed a couple of results going their way to ensure that they secured a spot in the last four. After losing to Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad needed Rajasthan Royals to lose to Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians winning against Kolkata Knight Riders. Both results went their way. In a way, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s journey to the playoffs is similar to how Chennai Super Kings qualified for the playoffs in 2012.
Chennai Super Kings get help from Deccan Chargers
In IPL 2012, Chennai Super Kings lost their last league game to Kings XI Punjab at Mohali and Royal Challengers Bangalore, as well as Rajasthan Royals, were on course to secure a top four spot.
Deccan Chargers, who were languishing at the bottom of the table, suddenly found form at the right time and defeated Rajasthan Royals to knock them out of the tournament. Delhi Daredevils did Chennai Super Kings major favour by defeating Kings XI Punjab and denting their hopes of a playoff spot. The playoff spot boiled down to the last encounter between Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore at Hyderabad. Deccan Chargers notched up 132/7 thanks to JP Duminy’s 73 and boosted by Dale Steyn’s 3/8 in four overs, Royal Challengers Bangalore lost by nine runs and in a spectacular way crashed out of the playoff race.
Chennai Super Kings qualified for the 2012 playoffs and reached the final where they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders. Sunrisers Hyderabad will be hoping that they can capitalise on this second opportunity and repeat their title feat of 2016.