The inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) has reached its business end, with less than a week remaining for the tournament to reach its conclusion.
Just four games remain in the league stage of the WPL, which will be played out on consecutive double-headers on Monday and Tuesday.
Read: Overseas players leading the way in inaugural WPL
The tournament certainly has lived up to its billing as far as delivering on fast-paced action and on quality in the two weeks that have passed since the opening ceremony at Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium.
From insane knocks from the likes of Sophie Devine to devastating spells from the likes of Marizanne Kapp and Saika Ishaque, the WPL has had it all on its debut.
Ahead of the final round of the WPL league fixtures, we take a look at the qualification scenarios for the teams involved:
Remaining games: vs DC (20 March); vs RCB (21 March)
Mumbai Indians, a dominant force in the Indian Premier League, have established themselves as a team to watch out for in the Women’s Premier League as well as the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side became the first team to reach the playoffs by reeling off five wins in a row.
MI’s winning streak, though, came to an end after a five-wicket loss against UP Warriorz on Saturday. Mumbai were favourites to finish on top of the table at the end of the league stage and secure direct passage into the final, but the defeat has complicated matters a bit for them.
A victory over Delhi Capitals on Monday, however, should comfortably seal a place in the final for them. Should they end up with a second consecutive loss, they’ll have another shot at the top spot against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday.
Remaining games: vs MI (20 March); vs UPW (21 March):
Much like the Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals are coming off a defeat in their last game heading into the final round of league fixtures, though they are comfortably-placed at the second spot with four wins in six games, which has confirmed their place in the playoffs.
And like MI, they have two games left and will be playing back-to-back fixtures on Monday and Tuesday, against MI and UPW respectively, where they will be vying for the coveted top spot.
Remaining games: vs GG (20 March); vs DC (21 March)
It’s not just MI and DC who are fighting for the top spot at the end of the league stage; the Alyssa Healy-led UP Warriorz are also in the fray, having snapping Mumbai’s five-game undefeated run with a comprehensive performance on Saturday to register their third win with two games in hand.
UPW face bottom-placed GG in the afternoon fixture on Monday, and a victory will help them go level on points with Delhi and land the knockout punch on Gujarat, besides confirming their place in the playoffs.
UP, however, can also be knocked out of the playoffs race should they end up losing both of their remaining games and RCB end up beating MI on Tuesday, after which Net Run Rate will come into play.
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
The Smriti Mandhana-led side have made a triumphant comeback of sorts in their last two games after losing four on the trot — which nearly made them the first team to bow out of contention for the knockouts.
With comprehensive victories over UP Warriorz and Gujarat Giants, the Royal Challengers Bangalore are hanging by a thread in the race to the playoffs, massively improving their Net Run Rate after beating GG with nearly five overs to spare.
They’ll of course, have to defeat MI — by a big margin preferrably — and hope UPW end up losing both their games for them to qualify for the Eliminator.
Gujarat’s playoff hopes were nearly dashed after their eight-wicket thrashing at the hands of Bangalore on Saturday, with their Net Run Rate falling to -2.511 that has made the task of reaching the knockouts for the Sneh Rana-led side an extremely difficult, if not impossible, prospect.
GG, though, can still sneak through regardless of their NRR — they’ll have to beat UPW on Monday afternoon and hope they also lose against DC the following day. Additionally, they’ll also need MI to beat RCB to eliminate that threat.
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