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Stats Analysis

The Hundred play-off scenarios: Five men's teams in contention, Brave and Invincibles eye women's final

The race for qualification is hotting up going into the final round of group games

Southern Brave and Oval Invincibles have secured play-off spots in the women's competition  •  Getty Images

Southern Brave and Oval Invincibles have secured play-off spots in the women's competition  •  Getty Images

The second season of the Hundred is set for a thrilling finish as the final round of the league phase starts on Monday with play-off spots up for the grabs. No team from the men's competition has secured their place in the play-offs, although Trent Rockets and London Spirit comfortably occupy the top two spots with five wins each.
The women's competition has seen the last year's finalists, Southern Brave and Oval Invincibles, securing their places in the top three and now aiming to qualify directly for the final. Four other teams are competing for the vacant third spot, but Birmingham Phoenix are the frontrunners to take that.
The defending champions of the men's competition, Southern Brave, have been officially knocked out of the play-off race, while the runners-up, Birmingham Phoenix, would need a huge win to qualify. There is a possibility that only one among the top three will find a place in the play-offs, and both of the current top two teams could still miss out on direct qualification for the final.

Men's tournament

Match 29, Trent Rockets (Wins 5) vs Welsh Fire (Wins 0):
Trent Rockets have the best chance to strengthen their case for direct qualification to the final, alongside sealing their berth in the play-offs. They face Welsh Fire in their last league game, a team that has lost all seven matches. A win in this fixture will make Rockets the first team to qualify for the play-offs this season, but their place in the final depends on net run rate (NRR). Rockets are about five runs ahead of London Spirit's NRR, the only other team who can finish on 12 points.
Rockets would then hope Spirit either lose to Birmingham Phoenix or the winning margin be no more than five runs better than their victory margin against Welsh Fire. Rockets can still seal their play-offs qualification even if they lose against Welsh Fire, if their losing margin is no more than 48 runs (In a 150-run chase) or 31 balls to spare. If Rockets lose by a heavier margin, they will need to root for Spirit to win against Phoenix or lose by a narrow margin on Tuesday.
Match 30, London Spirit (Wins 5) vs Birmingham Phoenix (Wins 4):
A 79-run defeat against Manchester Originals has left Birmingham Phoenix on the brink of elimination. However, they still have an outside chance of making it to the play-offs. They will need a big win in their last league match against London Spirit - by 42 runs or 28 balls to spare approximately. Any win margin less than that would end their road in the tournament unless Rockets lose by more than 48 runs to Welsh Fire on Monday, which would be an unlikely result.
While Phoenix aim for a huge win to qualify for the play-offs, Spirit will be making their calculations to get a direct place in the final. If Rockets lose against Fire, a win would be enough for Spirit to make it to Lord's. However, if Rockets win on Monday, Spirit will need a winning margin against Phoenix that is about six runs higher than Rockets' win margin.
Match 32, Manchester Originals (Wins 4) vs Oval Invincibles (Wins 4):
The final league game of the season between Manchester Originals and Oval Invincibles will be a virtual play-off to finish in the top three. The winning team gets closer to the title, while the losing team gets knocked out. If Rockets and Spirit lose their respective final league matches, the winning team among Originals and Invincibles will likely qualify directly for the final based on their better NRR.

Women's tournament

Southern Brave or Oval Invincibles - Battle for top spot:
Southern Brave, despite winning all the five matches they played, not yet assured of a direct route to the final. A win over Northern Superchargers in their last game would guarantee top spot, but they can achieve this despite a loss if second-placed Oval Invincibles do not win big in their final league match against Manchester Originals. If Brave lose to Superchargers by ten runs (in a 125-run chase), Invincibles should not win by more than 11 runs or six balls (in the case of a first-innings total of 125).
Birmingham Phoenix - Wins 3, Points 6:
Birmingham Phoenix were a win away from securing their top three finish, but an 18-run loss against Manchester Originals on Sunday left the table open. They now face threats from Trent Rockets, Originals and Superchargers, all tied on four points.
If Phoenix can defeat London Spirit in their last league game, they will bin all the scenarios and join Brave and Invincibles in the play-offs. If Rockets win by 12 or more runs, or with ten or more balls to spare (assuming a first-innings total of 125) against Welsh Fire, they will put Phoenix in a position where they cannot afford to lose in their last match.
Rockets, Originals and Superchargers - What are their chances?
Trent Rockets are more likely to finish in the top three than Originals and Superchargers, due to their better NRR. However, all three teams would need Phoenix to lose against Spirit on Tuesday. The margin of Phoenix's defeat will not matter for Rockets if they get the better of Welsh Fire by 12 runs or ten balls. But Originals and Superchargers will need big wins for qualification as they are currently 33 and 42 runs behind the Phoenix's NRR.

Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo