After two rounds of matches, the challenge of qualifying in Group 2 begins to take shape, with India in pole position and Pakistan in difficulty.
But all remains to be played as the six Group 2 teams compete for two places in the semi-finals of the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
We take a look at the current state of play and explain how Pakistan could still qualify.
India top the group with a maximum of four points from their opening two games and are in a prime position to advance to the semi-finals.
A net run rate of +1.425 is also a good start, and it will take some turnaround for Rohit Sharma’s side to be stymied from a top-two spot.
A rain-broken draw between South Africa and Zimbabwe puts the two teams just one point behind India with three games to play, and it could be the difference between the final standings.
Zimbabwe’s stunning victory over Pakistan gave them a chance, but they will probably still have to win at least two and possibly all three of their remaining matches.
South Africa have the advantage over Zimbabwe thanks to a phenomenal net RR of +5.200, created by the crushing 104-point victory over Bangladesh on Thursday.
That in itself is actually worth an extra point at this point.
Two defeats, both coming on the last ball of matches against India and Zimbabwe, left Pakistan needing something special to qualify for the semi-finals.
It is now unlikely that Pakistan will reach the last four, but not mathematically impossible.
The first task for Babar Azam’s side is to win their three remaining matches, starting with the Netherlands on Sunday, then South Africa on Thursday 3 November and finally against Bangladesh on Sunday 6 November.
It is however not in the hands of Pakistan. If India, Zimbabwe or South Africa win two of their three remaining matches, they will finish with more than six points – the maximum Pakistan can achieve.
Net RR could still be a factor, so a big margin of victory in at least one of the remaining games wouldn’t hurt either.
Bangladesh v Zimbabwe – Sunday 30 October
Whichever team wins will jump straight into the mix for qualification with two games to go. Both teams’ bowling units have been impressive in flashes throughout the tournament so far, so it should be a fascinating encounter.
India v South Africa – Sunday 30 October
A massive game in the context of the tournament, India could virtually seal qualification when the world’s second-ranked side meet the third-placed side in that ranking. Both teams will still be confident of qualifying, but a defeat for South Africa would leave them particularly vulnerable given that they lost points in the rain against Zimbabwe. Mathematically, it makes sense that Pakistan would want South Africa to lose in this match – an uncomfortable position for the fans.
Pakistan v South Africa – Thursday 03 November
Depending on the results of the matches preceding them, Pakistan’s meeting with South Africa in Sydney could be huge for both teams. It’s a huge clash between two of the best teams in the world even without the qualifying context being at stake.
Sunday October 30: Bangladesh – Zimbabwe, The Gabba, Brisbane
Sunday 30 October: Netherlands v Pakistan, Perth Stadium
Sunday October 30: India – South Africa, Perth Stadium
Wednesday November 2: Zimbabwe – Netherlands, Adelaide Oval
Wednesday 02 November: India v Bangladesh, Adelaide Oval
Thursday 03 November: Pakistan – South Africa, SCG, Sydney
Sunday 06 November: South Africa – Netherlands, Adelaide Oval
Sunday 06 November: Pakistan – Bangladesh, Adelaide Oval
Sunday 06 November: Zimbabwe – India, MCG, Melbourne
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