Game of run rate explained: How Afghanistan win significantly improved India's semi-final chances in T20 World Cup
- What appeared to be a slim mathematical possibility now looks like a real chance as India's net run rate saw a massive improvement. From -1.9 India climbed to +0.073 with just one victory. While Afghanistan, who had the best run rate in this group, have been dragged to +1.481.
India's comprehensive 66-run win against Afghanistan has rejuvenated their chances of making it to the T20 World Cup semi-final as the second team from Super 12, Group 2. India were left on the brink with two confidence-denting defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand in their first two matches but they staged superb comeback by beating Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
What appeared to be a slim mathematical possibility now looks like a real chance as India's net run rate saw a massive improvement. From -1.9 India climbed to +0.073 with just one victory. While Afghanistan, who had the best run rate in this group, have been dragged to +1.481. Before everyone starts to bring their calculators out, let's get one thing straight, India still don't have their fates in their own hands.
Despite their good comeback, they need to continue the good work and beat Scotland and Namibia by comprehensive margins to cover up the gap between them and Afghanistan.
With four wins and eight points, Pakistan are at the top of the table and have already booked the semi-final spot. Remember, the format of the Super 12 is such that only the top two teams from each group will be eligible to progress to the knockouts, while the remaining four will head back.
So how can India beat all odds to miraculously make the knockouts? Well, the road ahead is a tough one. Besides beating Scotland, Namibia by big margins, India would hope for either Scotland or Afghanistan to upset New Zealand, of which Afghanistan look the most likely candidate. They came close to beating Pakistan and India would hope they could pull off a win against the team that has haunted them in ICC events since 2007. Earlier on Wednesday, New Zealand defeated Scotland by 16 runs.
Let us imagine that Pakistan beat Scotland comprehensively and New Zealand get past them and Afghanistan. In that case, Pakistan and New Zealand will qualify and India will take the flight back to Mumbai. However, if Afghanistan can manage to beat New Zealand, and India win all their remaining matches, the finalists of the inaugural World Test Championship will be tied at 6 points each.
In that case, the net run rate will come into the equation and the team with a better NRR will advance. Why, you ask? Because India’s loss to Pakistan by 10 wickets with 10 balls to spare and defeat to New Zealand by 8 wickets inside 15 overs had dented their NRR heavily.
If Afghanistan do manage to beat New Zealand, then the thing that would go in India's favour is the fact that they play Namibia last in this game and would know exactly by what margin they need to beat them to advance to the semi-finals.