There is a sense of doom and gloom among the Indian fans after Virat Kohli and company’s successive defeats against Pakistan and New Zealand in the T20 World Cup 2021.
Having lost to Pakistan by 10 wickets last Sunday (October 24), India suffered another humiliating defeat to New Zealand by 8 wickets a week later (October 31).
Both the losses in Dubai have left India on the brink of elimination in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage in the competition.
India’s group – featuring Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Namibia and Scotland – may not be as tough as the other Super 12 group that consists of Australia, West Indies, England, Bangladesh, South Africa and Sri Lanka. But it is certainly a very tricky one.
Why? Because it puts great emphasis on matches involving India, Pakistan and New Zealand and makes it necessary that you win at least one of those. If you lose one of those encounters, like India did when they went down to Pakistan, you’re realistically already left fighting for only one semi-final spot for the rest of the matches.
If you lose both, as India sadly have, your chances are very grim as you then have too much ground to recover and depend heavily on other teams’ results.
This, with the knowledge that if you go down 2-1-0 in your little tri-series, the teams placed above you are almost secured of a semi-final spot since they’ll be playing Afghanistan, Namibia and Scotland for their other matches.
With all due respect to Namibia and Scotland, it seems very difficult for them to beat any of New Zealand and Pakistan. Afghanistan, in a more pragmatic sense, may still pose a hurdle to the Kiwis but they’ll have to play really well to beat them.
Afghanistan beating New Zealand is one of multiple scenarios that the Indian team now need to go their way if they are to have any chance of making it through to the semis of this T20 World Cup.
List of scenarios that India now need in T20 World Cup 2021
Provided that all four of Afghanistan (they already have), New Zealand, India, Pakistan beat Namibia and Scotland, here are the few scenarios that could still propel India through to the semis.
It is expected to come down to a three-way tie for one remaining semi-final spot from Group 2 among India, New Zealand and Afghanistan, considering that Pakistan have defeated those three sides and wins over Scotland and Namibia will seal their semi-final berth.
Here are the remaining matches for these three sides in T20 World Cup 2021:
India: Afghanistan (Nov 3, Abu Dhabi), Scotland (Nov 5, Dubai), Namibia (Nov 8, Dubai)
New Zealand: Scotland (Nov 3, Dubai), Namibia (Nov 5, Sharjah), Afghanistan (Nov 7, Abu Dhabi)
Afghanistan: India (Nov 3, Abu Dhabi), New Zealand (Nov 7, Abu Dhabi)
For Afghanistan, after massive wins over Scotland and Namibia – either side of a defeat to Pakistan – the equation is simple. They beat one of New Zealand and India and they are through. This, while also considering that their NRR (+3.097) is significantly better than India (-1.609) and New Zealand (+0.765).
For New Zealand also, wins in their remaining games, including one against Afghanistan, secure their semi-final berth.
But for India to go through, they have one controllable and two uncontrollables to take care of. India need to stitch together three big wins in their coming matches, especially the Afghanistan one, and hope that even if Afghanistan beat New Zealand, they aren’t able to take their NRR too far out of their reach.
Because if does boil down to NRR in a three-way tie, which is realistically only possible if Afghanistan beat New Zealand, Afghanistan have an upper hand over both of the other sides.
Not only India have to ensure they hammer Afghanistan themselves but also dent their NRR so much that even a win over New Zealand is of no help to them.
A loss to Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi will end all possibilities of India making the semis. Then Afghanistan and New Zealand, provided they beat both Scotland and Namibia, will be playing a virtual quarterfinal among themselves.