After 46 days of thrilling T20 cricket, the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League will go into knockout mode on Thursday. ANDRE HUISAMEN unpacks exactly how the playoff phase works.
Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians finished top of the standings after the preliminary round of matches, despite suffering a heavy 10-wicket defeat by the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Mumbai will clash with the Delhi Capitals in what is known as Qualifier 1 after the Capitals managed to secure second spot on the log in the new yet interesting mode of knockout cricket.
The winner of this match will head directly to the final, which will be contested on Tuesday, 10 November at the Dubai International Stadium.
The loser won’t be going home just yet and will automatically be scheduled as one of the teams in Qualifier 2, scheduled for Sunday.
On Friday, however, the much-anticipated Eliminator match will take place with the loser going home directly.
This match will feature the Sunrisers, who finished third on the log thanks to that victory over Mumbai on Tuesday and the Royal Challengers Bangalore after Virat Kohli’s men concluded their campaign in fourth.
The winner of this Eliminator, on the other hand, will be drafted into Qualifier 2 to face the loser from Qualifier 1 – either the Mumbai Indians or Delhi Capitals.
The team that secures victory in Qualifier 2 on Sunday will head to the final to face the winner from Qualifier 1, again either the Mumbai Indians or Delhi Capitals.
The knockout phase will also feature a host of South Africans in action, who will be eager to help their team bag the title.
Quinton de Kock will have a pivotal role to play for Mumbai going forward as the defending champions go in search of a record-fifth IPL crown, while AB de Villiers and Chris Morris will have an equally important responsibility towards RCB, who are still searching for a maiden triumph after all these years.
The Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, have been somewhat of a surprise package this season, mainly due to the bowling brilliance of Proteas duo Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. The two quicks have been electric throughout the campaign and could hold the key to their match with Mumbai on Thursday.
The Sunrisers, under the leadership of David Warner, have always been a dangerous side when push comes to shove and their recent performances suggest that they could be ready to produce a few upsets.
Thursday, 5 November: Qualifier 1 – Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Capitals
Friday, 6 November: Eliminator – Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Sunday, 8 November: Qualifier 2 – Loser of Qualifier 1 vs winner of Eliminator
Tuesday, 10 November: Final – Winner of Qualifier 1 vs winner of Qualifier 2