Irfan Pathan celebrates the dismissal of Imran Nazir during the ICC T20 World Cup cricket match, Super Eight group between India and Pakistan at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka . Photo: Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times
Their campaign is back on track after the morale-boosting win over Pakistan but India can hardly afford to relax as they take on an erratic but still quite intimidating South Africa in their final Super Eight match on Tuesday for a place in the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20 in Colombo.
The fight for the second semi-final slot from group-2 is indeed intriguingly poised as both India and Pakistan have a fair chance of making the cut although Australia seems favourite at the moment.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that devising a strategy without knowing the result of the Australia versus Pakistan game will be foolhardy as that will help them chart their course of action.
In case Pakistan (-0.426), who are a shade better than India (-0.452) in terms of net run-rate happen to win against Australia, Dhoni and his men will then have to win comprehensively against the South Africans in order to make it to the last four.
If Australia maintain a clean slate in the 'Super Eight' by beating Pakistan, the equation will be a lot easier for India as a win will be good enough. Even in case of a defeat against South Africa, India should ensure that they don't lose by a big margin as the net run rate will come into play with three teams tied with one win each.
South Africa have lost both their matches in contrasting manners -- a close defeat against Pakistan and a comprehensive one against Australia.
AB de Villiers and Co. will now want to end the tournament on a respectable note and think of an outside chance of qualifying although their net run-rate might prove to be a deterrent.