Sophie Devine’s incredible power-hitting has kept Royal Challengers Bangalore alive in the WPL. However, UP Warriorz’s win against Mumbai Indians has considerably strengthened their chances of taking the third play-off spot, which even a Devine intervention might not be able to prevent. Here’s a look at the qualification prospects of the three bottom-placed teams with only four games left in the league stage of the WPL.
How can Royal Challengers overcome their net-run-rate deficit and take third spot?
Currently, Royal Challengers have an NRR of -1.044 after seven games and Gujarat Giants have -2.511 after the same number of games, while UP Warriorz have -0.117 after six. Given that Warriorz already have six points, Royal Challengers only have a chance if they win their last game and move to six, and if Warriorz lose their last two, against Gujarat Giants and Delhi Capitals.
If the three results pan out in that fashion, then three teams will be level on six points, bringing net run rates into play. For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume a 40-run margin in each of those three games, with the winning team scoring 160. Then, the NRRs will look like this: Warriorz -0.612, Royal Challengers -0.628, and Gujarat Giants -1.893.
That means Royal Challengers will need a slightly bigger margin in one of those games – a win by 43 runs for example, instead of 40 – to go past Warriorz’s NRR.
Thus, Royal Challengers still have a shot at qualification, but they need several things to go their way, both in terms of results and their margins.
Do Gujarat Giants have a realistic chance?
Gujarat Giants are so far behind on run rate that they might as well start planning for next year. Even if they score 160 and beat Warriorz by 100 runs, they will still need Warriorz to lose to Delhi Capital by 112 runs to move ahead of them on NRR. Apart from these improbable results, they’ll also need Royal Challengers to lose their last game to Mumbai Indians.
What do UP Warriorz need to do to qualify?
Warriorz will be through if they win one of their last two games. They might even make it with two defeats, if they lose by narrow margins (as mentioned above).
Do Delhi Capitals have a chance of taking the top spot away from Mumbai Indians?
If Capitals beat Mumbai Indians on Monday, then both teams will level on 10 points with their last game coming up on Tuesday: Mumbai Indians against Royal Challengers and Delhi Capitals against UP Warriorz. Thus Delhi Capitals have a shot at the top spot, though their NRR is poorer (1.431 compared to 2.670 for Mumbai Indians).
However, if Capitals lose on Monday, then Mumbai Indians will be assured of the top spot.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats