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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

T20 World Cup: Can India qualify for semi-final despite big defeats to New Zealand and Pakistan?


It’s not the first time cricket fans in the country have had to sit with calculators and figure out permutations and combinations in a cricket season. But for the first time in recent memory, fans of the India cricket team will have an anxious wait as Virat Kohli’s men are on the brink of a shocking early exit in T20 World Cup 2021.

Billed as one of the pre-tournament favorites, India has shocked quite a few with their listless performances so far at the T20 World Cup. India’s body language, their mental strength have all come into question after two humbling defeats.

India’s campaign at the T20 World Cup got off to a horror start as they lost to arch-rivals Pakistan by 10 wickets. It was Pakistan’s first win over India in a World Cup match and they got it in style by chasing down a 152-run target without losing a wicket and with 13 balls to spare.

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A week’s break did India no good, it seems as they were hammered by 8 wickets by New Zealand, who restricted a listless Indian batting line-up to just 110 in 20 overs during which they went without a boundary for 70 balls. New Zealand got past the finish line in 14.3 overs.

The two big defeats meant India’s Net Run Rate has taken a massive beating. Only 2 teams will qualify from each of the two Super 12 groups and India’s chances are looking bleak at the moment.

Pakistan is on top of the 6-team table with 3 wins in as many matches. The 2009 champions are all but through to the semi-final, given their last two matches are against associates, Scotland and Namibia. Pakistan has made a statement with wins over India, New Zealand, and Afghanistan in their first 3 matches.

It is safe to say that 3 teams are still in the race for the second spot in Group 2 of the Super 12 – Afghanistan, New Zealand, and India and pretty much in that order.

Can India qualify for the semi-final of T20 World Cup 2021?

India’s upcoming matches

Vs Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on November 3

Vs Scotland in Dubai on November 5

Vs Namibia in Dubai on November 8

New Zealand’s upcoming matches

Vs Scotland in Dubai on November 3

Vs Namibia in Sharjah on November 5

Vs Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on November 7

Afghanistan’s upcoming matches

Vs India on November 3 in Abu Dhabi

Vs New Zealand on November 7 in Dubai

India’s only chance of making it to the semi-final is hope for a 3-way (or 4-way tie) for the semi-final spots at 6 points. If Pakistan wins one of their next two matches, they are assured of a spot in the semi-final.

While India can’t reach 8 points from hereon, Afghanistan and New Zealand can get to 8 points. Provided the more fancied teams avoid shocks in Group 2 from here on, the November 7 match between Afghanistan and New Zealand will assume a lot of importance.

What does India need to reach the semi-finals?

It’s simple. Win all their next 3 matches and win them by big margins to boost their Net Run Rate which is reeling at -1.609.

Scenario 1

India will hope they can beat Afghanistan by a big margin on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi and Mohammad Nabi’s men go on to beat New Zealand in their final Super 12 match.

However, if India is tied on points with Afghanistan, it’s less likely that they will be able to overtake Nabi’s side on Net Run Rate.

Scenario 2

India should beat Afghanistan by a big margin and hope New Zealand beat Afghanistan in their final Super 12 match — meaning, Afghanistan doesn’t get to 6 points from here.

However, New Zealand should lose to one of Namibia or Scotland as it gives Virat Kohli’s men an opportunity to overtake the Black Caps’ NRR.

Can Scotland and Namibia help India?

Well, there are more ways in which India can qualify for the semi-final. There are a couple of unlikely scenarios as India needs Scotland and Namibia to pull off a couple of big upsets.

For instance, if Pakistan loses their next two matches to Scotland and Namibia and India wins their next 3 matches by a big margin, there is a possibility of India going through and their arch-rivals getting knocked out in the Super 12 stages. Well, doesn’t it look unlikely?

Also, India can benefit from Scotland and Namibia beating New Zealand and India winning their remaining matches by a big margin.

All said and done, India has failed to live up to its reputation so far at T20 World Cup 2021. As former cricketer Vinod Kambli wrote on social media, this has been one of India’s worst-ever World Cup performances, if not the worst-ever, given the talent and potential the side has been able to develop over the years.

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