India to play Aussies or Lankans in World Cup Q-F

India to play Aussies or Lankans in World Cup Q-F

 Yuvraj Singh, Munaf Patel and Mahendra Singh Dhoni play football during a practice session at the M A Chidambaram  Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. DH photo/ P Samson VictorPakistan’s four-wicket victory over Australia in Colombo on Saturday has decided the pecking order in Group A, but the final standings in Group B will not be known until the last league fixture of the tournament, between India and the West Indies, in Chennai on Sunday.

Victory for India will help them finish second, behind table-toppers South Africa -who crushed Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday, and set up a quarterfinal clash in Ahmedabad on Thursday against three-time defending champions Australia.

The Aussies’ unbeaten 34-match streak in World Cups was rudely halted by Pakistan, whose nervy win catapulted them to the top-dog status in Group A. Pakistan will face England in their quarterfinal, unless India suffer an unimaginably heavy loss to the West Indies and slump to fourth in the Group B standings.

Should India lose on Sunday, they will in all likelihood have to settle for third in their group. Their quarterfinal opponents then will be Sri Lanka, the 1996 World Cup champions who finished second in Group A.

Irrespective of whether they win on Sunday or not, India must defeat one of the last two winners on Thursday if they are to keep their World Cup hopes alive. It’s a tall order, no doubt, but certainly not beyond the reach of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men.

The only other guaranteed quarterfinal face-off  is between South Africa and New Zealand. The Proteas have 10 points of a possible 12, while the Kiwis are fourth in Group A, and get another chance to keep punching above their weight in global ICC competitions.

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