Scenarios: Almost impossible to deny Mumbai Indians a top-two finish now

RCB are still No. 2, but if they lose both their remaining matches, things could get sticky for them

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after taking a wicket  •  BCCI

Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after taking a wicket  •  BCCI

The 48th match of IPL 2020 pitted two of the top-two aspirants, the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The Mumbai Indians won, becoming the first team to reach 16 points. What does that mean for the qualification chances of the two teams?
Mumbai Indians: Played 12, Points 16, NRR 1.186
Remaining matches: vs Delhi Capitals (Oct 31) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (Nov 3)
Mumbai's fantastic net run-rate of 1.186 means they are through to the playoffs for all practical purposes. Not only that, they are also almost certain of a top two finish.
Given how the points table stands at the moment, only five teams can make it to 16 or more, and one of them is the Kolkata Knight Riders, who have a terrible NRR of -0.479.
Just how far in front the Mumbai Indians are will be clear from this example: For their NRR to fall below that of the Knight Riders', these are the results necessary in the remaining matches:
  • The Mumbai Indians lose their last two by an aggregate run margin of around 190 runs (that is, the margins of the two losses add up to 190 runs)
  • The Knight Riders win their last two by an aggregate margin of 200
  • If these improbable results take place, the Mumbai Indians will have an NRR of around 0.31, while the Knight Riders will sneak ahead on 0.32.
    The Mumbai Indians' excellent NRR also means they are almost sure to finish in the top two, because the Royal Challengers have a game to play against the Capitals, which means only one of those teams can reach 18. A run-rate battle with the other teams, which will finish on 16, will have only one winner.
    Royal Challengers Bangalore: Played 12, Points 14, NRR 0.048
    Remaining matches: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (Oct 31), Delhi Capitals (Nov 2)
    The relatively narrow margin of defeat against the Mumbai Indians means that the Royal Challengers are still second on the points table, with an excellent chance of making the playoffs if they win one of their two remaining games. If they lose both, though, then things will get sticky, as seven teams can still potentially make it to 14 or more points.

    S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats