Despite the massive win achieved over newcomers Scotland in just 6.3 overs on Friday night here, India`s hopes of qualifying for the ICC T20 World Cup last-four hinge on Afghanistan beating the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Following two big defeats — to Pakistan by 10 wickets and New Zealand by eight wickets — in the Group 2 `Super 12` stage, India were down to fifth on the points table with an abysmal Net Run Rate (NRR). But emphatic victories over Afghanistan and Scotland have seen them do one part right — drastically improve the NRR. While their drubbing of Afghanistan took their NRR from -1.609 to +0.073, the eight-wicket win over Scotland on Friday evening achieved in 6.3 overs, further bolstered their NRR to +1.619.
India first bundled Scotland out for 85, with Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammad Shami taking three wickets apiece and then chased down the target for the loss of two wickets. The win takes them to third spot in the Group 2 standings with four points, leapfrogging Afghanistan on NRR. Despite that, their fate hinges on Afghanistan beating the all-powerful Black Caps, who have been clinical in all their `Super 12` matches, barring Pakistan.
Following are the likely semifinal scenarios:
After a crushing defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the second game, India`s net run rate was a lowly -1.609. However, after two back to back wins by massive margins — first against Afghanistan by 66 runs and now against Scotland with 81 balls remaining — India`s net run rate is now at +1.619, the highest amongst all the Group 2 teams. Afghanistan and New Zealand are not too far off, at +1.481 and +1.277 respectively.
Despite the huge NRR boost, India`s semifinal hopes are pinned on the result of the New Zealand-Afghanistan game. Second in the group with six points, New Zealand have their fate in their own hands.
1. What happens if New Zealand win?
It`s quite simple for the Black Caps — win the game, qualify for the semifinals without NRR coming into the picture or lose the game and they are out of the tournament. A win for the Kiwis will take them to eight points, which will be out of India`s reach, thus eliminating the Men in Blue before their game against Namibia. A victory for New Zealand is the worst possible result for India.
2. What happens if Afghanistan win?
Afghanistan win over the Kiwis will keep India in contention for the semifinals. However, Afghanistan themselves will be in with a strong chance to qualify if they beat New Zealand by a handsome margin. If they do, they would be hoping for an upset from Namibia against India, which would see them qualify for the semifinals of the ICC event for the first time in their history. If Afghanistan beat New Zealand, India will have to keep NRR in mind when they face Namibia.
3. What do India need to do?
All of India`s hopes are currently pinned on Afghanistan. If Afghanistan win against New Zealand, India themselves will have to beat Namibia by a margin that keeps their net run rate above Afghanistan. On the net run rate front, it is advantage India at the moment, who have the best net run rate in Group 2.
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