Rajasthan Royals have a slight chance of making it to the top four of the 2020 Indian Premier League, but that depends on how the other teams above them perform over the next week. The Royals are lurking in the seventh spot with a mere 10 points from 12 matches. Even if they win their next two encounters, it's not certain whether they will qualify for the play-offs.

In contrast, the Kings XI Punjab is on the verge of making it to the play-offs. The Punjab side still needs to win both their remaining games to ensure qualification, given that the other teams are breathing on their necks with the same points in the same number of matches.

#KXIP will be looking to extend their winning run as they take on #RR in Match 50 of #Dream11IPL at Abu Dhabi.

Preview by @ameyatilak https://t.co/ECUpQ8fYyh #KXIPvRR pic.twitter.com/NPUGdhxyOR

— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) October 30, 2020

At the end of the group stage, Punjab skipper KL Rahul wouldn't want any heartbreak just because of a lower net run rate (NRR). So, he will aim to leave Abu Dhabi with two points under his belt. Hence, Friday's encounter between Rajasthan and Punjab is a do-or-die situation for both teams.

To some extent, the game is more important to the Royals, as they seek to produce a miracle to see themselves in the last four of the tournament for the first time since 2018. In the glorious 13-year history of the IPL, the men in pink played the final only once, and that too in 2008, during the inaugural edition of the tournament. The Rajasthan franchise had won the competition that year. But since then, the side hasn't been able to produce any meaningful performances.

In contrast, Kings XI have reached the finals only once in 2014 but lost the game to the Kolkata Knight Riders. Besides that, they have qualified for the playoffs just on a single occasion, that too in 2008 under Yuvraj Singh's captaincy.

Ben Stokes
Rajasthan Royals secured Ben Stokes for £1.4m in the 2018 IPL auction Getty

Over the last 13 years, the Royals qualified for the playoffs only four times. Despite having World Cup-winning players in the side, like Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, and Tom Curran, the Royals haven't been a consistent franchise in recent years. They have finished seventh in the tournament thrice in the last ten years.

The team's World Cup-winning Australian mentor Shane Warne hasn't been able to inspire his side to play like champions. It's worth noting that Warne was Rajasthan's captain when they won their sole IPL title.

The shortest version of the sport has transformed a lot over the last decade and it seems that the Royals' management is reluctant to make any necessary changes that could revive the team's lost dominance.

All eyes will be on the battle between Indian wicketkeepers Sanju Samson and Rahul, who will take on each other for probably the last time before they leave for Australia. Rajasthan's Samson recently got picked for the Indian national T20 squad. He will be looking to prove his worth against KXIP.

In terms of head-to-head record, the two teams have faced each other 20 times in the IPL so far. Rajasthan won 11 of those matches, while Punjab won the remaining nine. However, this season, Indian Express reports that Punjab has been in terrific form ever since Chris Gayle returned to the playing lineup. They are unbeaten for the last five matches.

Lots of thrills await as only seven matches are remaining in this season's IPL, which arguably has been the most exciting cricket competition so far this year.