T20 World Cup: England and Pakistan Enter Semi Finals!


England and Pakistan, the unbeaten teams so far in Group-1 and Group-2 respectively, have earned 8 points each with one match each remaining and have sealed their places in the semi-finals. England is probably the best team of the tournament defeating all tough rivals easily and busting the myth that teams winning the toss and bowling first go on to win the matches which, in fact, have been a trend in the sluggish pitches and the dew factor later in the night at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. However, England in particular and also Pakistan have proved that any good team can always win under any circumstances. It had been really tough for England to bat first against Sri Lanka, particularly handling the Lankan good spinners; but their in-form batsmen took up the   challenge and Buttler went on to hit the first century of the tournament remaining unbeaten thus helping the team to put up a healthy total of 163 runs. And then, their bowlers and fieldsmen delivered as in all previous matches to restrain Sri Lanka to 137 runs. This win took their points to 8 and ensured a semi-final, and in all probability to be the top team of the group, of course subject to their last match result against the tough South Africa.

 


Pakistan has been the unbeaten team in Group-2 so far beating all the tough contenders including India, Afghanistan and New Zealand, and then negating the myth of the toss too by beating Namibia, although a weaker side, when Pakistan lost the toss and were put into bat, and notching up 8 points ensuring a semi-final berth. Pakistan is most likely to be to be the yet-to-be-beaten top side in Group-2 considering the fact they have their last match against a listless Scotland.

 

The picture is still not clear as to which two teams from their respective groups would fill the other two semi-final berths. In Group-1 it is most likely to be either of South Africa with 6 points and one match to go and Australia having 4 points, but with two matches left. In a possible scenario of South Africa winning against England and Australia winning against both Bangladesh and the West Indies there would be a deadlock of three teams with 8 points each; but in that case too England is likely to seal its top position thanks to their almost insurmountable net run-rate. The second team would also be decided then based on their net run-rate with both teams, particularly Australia, needing to improve theirs drastically. While Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are out of contention the West Indies still have a fighting chance with only 2 points, but two matches are left for them, one against Sri Lanka and the second against Australia; if they win both they will have 6 points reducing Australia too to 6 provided they beat Bangladesh and if South Africa lose to England there would be a three-team deadlock of 6 points each.

 

Afghan Captain Nabi

We have already analyzed the situation in Group-2 in an earlier post which needs to be adjusted a little now with New Zealand crushing India and getting their first 2 precious points. New Zealand is likely to move rather easily to 6 points in their matches against Scotland and Namibia. The game-changer match for them, on Sunday, the 7th of November, would be against Afghanistan who already has 4 points with two matches to go. If New Zealand lose that match Afghanistan will have 6 points and an extremely formidable net run-rate, and in that scenario India too will have a chance technically provided they beat all three including Afghanistan with huge margins. If New Zealand win they will have 8 points and will be through to either top or the second position depending on the result of Pakistan’s last encounter with Scotland and respective net run-rates. Therefore, it is still wide open in Group-2 for the second semi-final berth.

 

In all likelihood, considering all the scenarios, the first semi-final should be between England Vs New Zealand or Afghanistan and the second semi-final should be between Pakistan Vs South Arica or Australia. Negative body language of the Indians complaining all the time about the toss or pitches or dew, poor team selection cum horrible changes in the batting order and the commerce involved in placing them in the second slot all the time and a huge gap between their first and second match so that both matches get played on Sundays while all other teams were playing every alternate days in either of the slots. For the latter factor the BCCI is squarely responsible, because they shouldn’t have treated the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup-2021 in the same way as their money-spinning IPL-2021. The cricket board must be ruing the fact that the IPL-2021 could not continue in the huge stadiums of India with raving crowds and the same for the World Cup as it was shifted to India earlier this year.

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