Guest writer Ben Gardner looks at what each team needs to do in their final games to qualify for Finals Day.
As we enter the final rounds of the Kia Super League, it is impossible not to look ahead, towards Finals Day, and for the mathematicians inside of each of us to try and work out which permutations and combinations can result in our team going through. It turns out that no team can yet relax, and also that every team is in with a chance, no matter how slim, of qualifying for that glorious day in Chelmsford. Read on to find out more.
Southern Vipers – The Vipers, thanks to having won three games out of three, are almost qualified for Finals Day, but can still go out if they lose both their games, concede bonus points in both, and Stars beat Lightning with a bonus point. Then Stars, Lightning, Storm, and Vipers will all be on at least 8 points, and it will come down to net run rate.
Loughborough Lightning – If Lightning beat Stars they are through to Finals Day. If they lose to Stars they can qualify by beating Vipers with a better or equal result in terms of bonus points than that which they lost to Stars. If the results are equal then Lightning will need a better net run rate than Stars. Lightning can also qualify by beating Vipers and finishing on greater or equal points than Storm, with net run rate coming into play if they are on equal points. If Lightning lose both they need lots to go their way. They need Vipers and Diamonds to beat Storm, Diamonds to not win both their games with bonus points and net run rate to work in their favour.
Western Storm – If Storm win both games they are through. If they win one, then they are through if Lightning beat Stars, or if their win equals or betters Stars’ win, with Storm needing a better NRR than Stars if it’s equal. If Storm lose both, then they again need a lot of results to conspire for them. Storm will need Lightning to beat Stars, or Lightning to lose both games, and Diamonds to not win both games with bonus points, and to beat whichever teams are on 5 points on net run rate.
Surrey Stars – Stars will have to wait on other results no matter what their result against Lightning is. They can be knocked out even if they beat Lightning with a bonus point, if Lightning beat Vipers with a bonus point or Storm finish on or above 8 points, and if NRR works against them. But equally if they lose, they can still qualify if Diamonds beat Storm and Diamonds finish on 5 or less points, and NRR works with them. They can also mathematically still finish 1st in the table since Lightning, Vipers, Storm and Stars could all finish on 8 points, at which point it would be decided on net run rate.
Lancashire Thunder – In an almost hopeless situation, Thunder need to win with a bonus point to have any chance of qualifying, and also need Storm to lose both games, and Lightning to beat Stars, or Stars and Vipers both to beat Lightning, and then hope for net run rate to do its magic.
Yorkshire Diamonds – Although point-less so far, Diamonds are still in with a shot of qualifying for Finals Day. They need to win both games, and at least one with a bonus point. They also need Storm to lose to Vipers, and either Lightning to beat Stars, or Vipers and Stars to beat Lightning. If they win both games with bonus points, and the above scenario happens, they will not need to rely on net run rate.
NB: The possibility of any matches ending as no-result was not considered.