How Royal Challengers and UP Warriorz can qualify for the playoffs
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 playoff spot, which even a Devine intervention might not be able to prevent. Here's a look at the qualification prospects for the three bottom-placed teams with only four games left in the league stage.
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 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 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?
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 Capitals 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.
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?
If Capitals beat Mumbai on Monday, then both teams will be level on 10 points with their last game coming up on Tuesday: Mumbai against Royal Challengers and Capitals against Warriorz. Thus, Capitals have a shot at the top spot, though their NRR is poorer (1.431 compared to 2.670 for Mumbai).
However, if Capitals lose on Monday, then Mumbai Indians will be assured of the top spot.