A cracker of a week in the offing

LOTS AT STAKE: The experienced Mushfiqur Rahim will have to come good against India on Tuesday. Bangladesh are in a must-win scenario. AP/PTI

Over the next five days, six matches will be played, firming up the semifinalists in the ongoing World Cup. India, New Zealand, England, Pakistan and Bangladesh are in the race for the three spots with Australia having already sealed the first knockout place with 14 points and a match in hand against South Africa on the last day of the league matches.

India and New Zealand, with 11 points each and healthy net run-rate, are placed better to seal two of the three remaining slots while England with 10 points have the next best chance. Only one of Bangladesh and Pakistan can fill up the fourth place, probably at the cost of England, should the hosts lose their last match to Kiwis. Let’s have a look at each team’s chances.

Pakistan (9 points, 1 match to go):

Pakistan have a straightforward equation: beat Bangladesh with a big margin and hope the results of India-Sri Lanka and England-New Zealand matches go their way. While Pakistan would log 11 points should they beat Bangladesh, their run-rate is significantly inferior (-0.792) to all other teams in the race. If New Zealand beat England, they would be doing a huge favour to Pakistan as the hosts would remain on 10 points as opposed to Pakistan’s 11. But if New Zealand lose, they will have to lose by over 100 runs to revive Pakistan’s hopes. Pakistan can also sneak in if India lose their next two matches by massive margins to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh (7 points, 2 matches to go):

Bangladesh’s task is slightly more difficult than Pakistan. They have to beat India on Tuesday before confronting Pakistan in their final match which will be a direct shootout between them. Whichever team loses will be out and if Bangladesh win, they should ensure massive wins to get the better of India and New Zealand. Their equation vis-à-vis England is same as that of Pakistan.

England (10 points, 1 match to go):

England’s task too is quite straightforward -- beat New Zealand and garner 12 points to avoid all the permutations and combinations. With 10 points, they need just one more point to advance as they have the best net run-rate (+1.00, same as that of Australia). Even if they lose to Kiwis but India beat Bangladesh and Bangladesh beat Pakistan, they will go through as both Bangla and Pak will end up on nine points, and England would have an extra point.

New Zealand (11 points, 1 match to go):

New Zealand, who have lost two successive matches, will be desperate to get back to winning ways but even if they come up short against England in their last match, they just need to ensure that the defeat isn’t so heavy that it takes their run-rate into negative. A washout will carry them forward.

India (11 points, 2 matches to go):

India have to commit hara-kiri to deny themselves a place in the semifinals. The 31-run defeat to England did affect their run-rate but it’s still in the positive (+0.854), way above Pakistan and Bangladesh. A win against one of Bangladesh or Sri Lanka will take them through but even in the unlikely event of defeat in both matches, they just need to ensure that losses aren’t too heavy to push their run-rate below the other contenders – Pakistan or Bangladesh.   

Tie-breakers: In the event of two or more teams tying on same number of points, the first tie-breaker is the number of wins followed by net run-rate. If the two can’t resolve the deadlock, then head-to-head record will apply.

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