After defeating South Africa yesterday at the Eden Gardens, India is riding high with 16 points. South Africa with 12 points, Australia with 10 points and New Zealand with 8 points are in the top 4 places, while Pakistan with 8 points is one place ahead of Afghanistan due to higher net run rate and is in 5th place.
Chasing down New Zealand’s target of 403 that day, Baqar Zaman’s wild century made Pakistan 200/1, before the match was abandoned midway due to rain, and Pakistan took a 21-run lead under the Duckworth-Lewis method. The incident reminds many of the 1992 World Cup. New Zealand did well in that World Cup as well but were defeated in the semi-finals by Inzamam-ul-Haq’s brilliant innings. On that day, Inzamam scored 60 runs off 37 balls and successfully chased down the target of 262 runs to defeat New Zealand. New Zealand, who won consecutively in that World Cup, lost twice only to Pakistan, but the dream of the cup was shattered. At the same time, Pakistan lost some matches and finally won the trophy under the leadership of Imran.
Even now, with New Zealand’s defeat and Pakistan’s victory, many believe that Pakistan is likely to become a ‘dark horse’ and move towards the trophy again. First, Pakistan need to qualify for the semi-finals. If they qualify like that, it will be difficult for them if there is a semi-final opportunity with India. Let’s take a look at these opportunities:
Now South Africa is in 2nd place with 12 points from 8 matches. Australia team has played 7 matches and has 10 points. As for Australia, chances of finishing 2nd or 3rd and progressing to the semi-finals are bright. Australia still have 2 more matches. One is against Afghanistan on Tuesday. They will next play against Bangladesh on Saturday.
So the race for the 4th position is now between New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In this Afghanistan team will play against South Africa and Australia. Whether South Africa will win it is uncertain. The 4th place team in the points table will have to face the Indian team in the semi-finals.
India-Pakistan semi-final odds: Pakistan will play their last league match against England on 11th. Before that, New Zealand play their last league match against Sri Lanka on November 9. In this case, if New Zealand loses against Sri Lanka and Pakistan beats England, Pakistan will go to 10 points. But Pakistan will surely pray that both South Africa and Australia win against Afghanistan.
Not so, Afghanistan will be level with Pakistan on 10 points if they win either of the two matches. Then the net run rate will decide. As of now, Afghanistan’s net run rate is in minus. Pakistan Net Run Rate stands at +0.036. So there is a chance for Pakistan to progress. Assuming the improbable happens and Afghanistan beat both South Africa and Australia, they will qualify for the semi-finals with a mere 12 points.
At the same time, if the New Zealand team wins 10 points by defeating Sri Lanka and Pakistan defeats England, then if Afghanistan loses in the remaining 2 matches, there will be a net run rate issue between New Zealand and Pakistan. New Zealand’s current run rate is +0.398. Pakistan’s is +0.036. Here is an advantage for Pakistan. Pakistan, who face England a day later, will have a chance to close the game early and win based on net run rate, rather than New Zealand winning a day earlier. If they win, Pakistan will enter the semi-finals.
Well let’s look at another (a) possibility. The entire New Zealand-Sri Lanka match was canceled due to rain and the points will be split between the two teams. If that happens, New Zealand will be left with 9 points by getting one point, while Pakistan will beat England with 10 points and then Pakistan will meet India in the semi-final with 10 points. On the other hand, if both the Pakistan match and the New Zealand match are canceled due to rain, New Zealand will go to the semi-finals as the net run ratio is high. So, it will be known in a few days if there is a possibility of another Pakistan-India semi-final clash.