Mumbai must win, RCB have the advantage of playing last, and Royals can only wait in hope
With Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants advancing to the playoffs with wins in their last league matches, only one spot remains to be taken. Three teams have a chance to grab that final place in the playoffs. Here’s what the result in the remaining two games of the league will mean for the teams who are still in the fray.
Matches to be played
Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai, 3:30pm
Royal Challengers Bengaluru v Gujarat Titans, Bengaluru, 7:30pm
Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore both win
Both Mumbai and RCB will move to 16 points, but this scenario will be stacked in favour of RCB who have the better NRR of the two. Even if RCB win by the barest margin of one run, Mumbai are required to thrash Sunrisers by at least 79 runs to finish ahead of Royal Challengers. Even if Mumbai win by a margin bigger than 79 runs, RCB will have the advantage of knowing exactly what they would need to qualify because they are playing the last game.
Only one of Mumbai or Royal Challengers win
Whichever team wins, moves to 16 points and makes it to the playoffs. RCB losing to Titans is the best case scenario for Mumbai to qualify with a win.
Both MI and RCB lose
This is the outcome Rajasthan Royals will be hoping for, for it would give them a realistic chance of qualifying. If this happens, all three teams – Mumbai, RCB and Royals – will be tied on 14 points. Mumbai will be knocked out on account of their poor NRR.
It will come down to NRR between RCB and Royals and here’s what Royals would need from Titans. If RCB bat first and score 180, Royals need Titans to chase down the target in 19.3 overs or before. If RCB field first and concede 180, Royals need Titans to restrict RCB to 174 or less.
If the margins of RCB’s loss are tighter than that, then they will go through with a better NRR.
No result in the Mumbai-SRH game
In this event RCB will qualify if they win, otherwise Mumbai will go through to the playoffs.
No result in the RCB-Titans game
In this event Mumbai will qualify if they win, otherwise RCB will go through to the playoffs.
No result in both matches
RCB will qualify on account of superior NRR.
Shiva Jayaraman is a senior stats analyst at ESPNcricinfo @shiva_cricinfo