India and South Africa are set to clash on Tuesday, October 2, in a match whose winner could qualify for the semi-finals.
For South Africa, winless in two Super Eight group games, Tuesday’s match is a do-or-die affair. A loss would mean curtains, for the Proteas.
Breaking news: Batting first, India have scored 152/6 against South Africa. To qualify, India need to win by 31 runs. In other words, they must restrict South Africa to a maximum of 121 runs.
If India won, it would be their second victory and the fate of Dhoni’s men would hinge on the result of the Pakistan-Australia game, on the same day. Were Pakistan to win that one, a net run rate comparison would come into play to decide which teams would go through from Group 2. Currently, Pakistan have a better NRR than India, though both teams are level on points with one win each..
Were India and Pakistan to lose their respective games, Australia would qualify and NRR would again come into play to decide the other qualifying team. In that situation, India could still have to pack their bags, even if Pakistan contrived to lose to Australia by a huge margin such that their NRR ended up lower than India’s. In such an eventuality, South Africa could qualify if they ended up with a better NRR than India’s. But as of now, India have a slightly better NRR than South Africa; Dhoni might prefer to bat first on Tuesday and set a big target so as to protect his side’s NRR, in the event of a loss in their last Group 2 game.
Anything is possible, including the ouster of Australia from the reckoning, if only on paper. If both India and Pakistan were to win by humongous margins – as unlikely as that might seem in a game restricted to 20 overs a side – Australia could end up with an NRR lower than those of both sub-continental teams.
But you’ll realize how unlikely that is, when you consider that Australia’s NRR ahead of Tuesday’s matches is +1.712, with Pakistan, India and South Africa boasting NRR’s of –0.426, –0.452, and –0.605 respectively.
India’s best hope of qualifying for the semi-finals is to beat South Africa and pray that Australia beat Pakistan. Likewise, Pakistan’s best hope is to beat Australia and pray for South Africa to beat India. South Africa would want to beat India by a sufficiently large margin while praying for Pakistan’s loss to Australia by a similar large margin, so as to leave the Proteas with a better NRR than their sub-continental rivals.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.