It was a matter of just nine balls that made all the difference between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) making it to the playoffs or losing out to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Both the teams have the same score on the points table. However, it is the net run rate that is making all the difference.
Although Virat Kohli’s RCB lost the match to Delhi Capitals on Monday, both the teams qualified for the playoffs. While Delhi Capitals occupied the second spot, the RCB occupied the third spot.
On Monday as DC ended their four-match losing streak by chasing down a target of 153 with an over to spare, it meant automatic qualification for RCB as there NRR of (-0.172) didn’t drop below KKR’s (-0.214).
Had Delhi Capitals chased the target 9 balls earlier (i.e in 17.3 overs), RCB’s NRR would have fallen below KKR’s and they would have been left waiting for the last league match of the season Sunrisers vs Mumbai Indians. That’s how thin the margins were this season of IPL.
KKR will qualify if SRH loses match
The fate of KKR now depends on the match between Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad. While Mumbai Indian was the first team to have qualified for the playoffs, a victory for Sunrisers Hyderabad will not just fix a spot for them in the playoffs, but will also eliminate KKR that has the worst net run rate among all other teams contending for a spot in the playoffs.
Played good cricket to qualify: Virat Kohli
During the post-match presentation, RCB skipper Virat Kohli said: “Probably in the 11th over, the 17.3 overs-mark was informed by the management. Even if the game was drifting away, we controlled the middle overs well enough. I think we’ve played good enough cricket in this tournament to qualify.”
Even though this was the fourth loss for RCB in-a-row, Kohli said he will look at positives from the season and his team has endured their share of ups and downs.
“It’s a mixed bag. You come to games to try and get a result your way. We have two games to the final now. We can be braver in the back end, probably be better in the powerplay (with the ball) which has been our strength. You take what you can with these games,” Kohli said.
DC to face MI on Nov 5
DC, on the other hand, are now number 2 on the points table and will face table toppers Mumbai Indians in the qualifier 1 on November 5 in Dubai.
“We knew it was a do or die and we just focused on the win, not NRR. The teams who won in the latter half completely changed the scenario. It’s a really competitive tournament for sure. I feel that the bowlers were really up with their plans and knew what they had to execute,” DC skipper Shreyas Iyer said after the match.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan (54) and Ajinkya Rahane (64) struck half-centuries after DC bowlers dished out a clinical performance and restricted RCB to 152 for 7. This was a much-needed victory for Capitals after four defeats in a row.
Both DC and MI will have second chance of making it to the final as the loser of this match will face the winner of the eliminator match to be played between RCB and KKR or SRH on Nov 6.
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