India’s five-wicket loss to South Africa in the Super-12 stage of the ICC T20 World Cup has made their upcoming fixture against Bangladesh on Wednesday extremely crucial after the 2007 champions lost their pole position in Group 2 on Sunday night.
The Proteas are now leading the group with five points from three matches despite their match against Zimbabwe being abandoned, while India are placed second on four points from three matches.
While a net run rate (NRR) of +0.844 gives India the edge going into the clash against Bangladesh, the sub-continental neighbours cannot be taken lightly, given the side is also on four points and only the net run rate separates the two.
While South Africa’s NRR of +2.772, created by the crushing 104-run win over Bangladesh, means they are now clear favourites to qualify in the group, the fight for the second spot from the group could become fierce as all the teams barring of course the Netherlands, and perhaps Pakistan, have a chance of making the last-four grade.
A win for Bangladesh would throw the group wide open, putting them two points clear of India with just one game to play and potentially opening a path for India’s semifinal spot to be snatched from them in the last round of matches.
Should India win, then they will have more than a foot in the last-four, with Zimbabwe awaiting them in Sunday’s fifth and final group game.
While Zimbabwe’s stunning win over Pakistan had given them a chance, but their dramatic loss to Bangladesh means it will take something remarkable for them to finish in the top-two from here.
For Pakistan, two defeats — both coming on the final ball of matches against India and Zimbabwe — might have left them needing something special to make it to the semifinals. Their hopes have taken another blow thanks to India’s defeat against South Africa — a result that complicates the qualification permutations for Babar Azam’s side, according to ICC.
If Pakistan beat South Africa on November 3 and Bangladesh on November 6, they will have six points. But it is completely out of Pakistan’s own hands and looking increasingly unlikely that six points will be enough, although not mathematically impossible.
Sunday’s win for South Africa means that even if Pakistan beat the Proteas in their next match, it will not be enough to see them leapfrog Temba Bavuma’s side. NRR could yet be a factor, so a big margin of victory in at least one of the remaining games would be beneficial.
Depending on the results in the matches before them, Pakistan’s meeting with South Africa in Sydney could be enormous for both sides. It’s a huge clash between two of the better teams in the world even without the context of qualification being at stake.