What Teams Are Left In The World Cup ICC World Cup 2011: Are India, Pakistan Heading For Quarter-Final Showdown?

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ICC World Cup 2011: Are India, Pakistan Heading For Quarter-Final Showdown?

India’s loss to South Africa has increased the chances of an India-Pakistan match in the quarter-finals of the ICC World Cup 2011.

Unlike Group B, where the situation is fluid, it is quite possible to predict which teams will qualify for the quarterfinals, from Group A.

These are likely to be Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, though not necessarily in that order. Zimbabwe have an outside chance of qualifying at Pakistan’s expense. For that to happen, the Africans will need to beat Shahid Afridi’s men when the sides meet on Monday, March 14, in Kandy, and then await the result of Pakistan’s game against Australia.

Zimbabwe have just the lone win, with matches against Pakistan and Kenya to be played. The best they can hope to achieve is 3 wins by winning both of their remaining games. Should Pakistan lose to Zimbabwe and beat Australia, it would give the sub-continental side 4 wins and 2 losses, enough to defeat Zimbabwe’s bid.

Zimbabwe’s best hope of qualifying would be to beat Pakistan and hope Australia prevail over Afridi’s wards. In such an eventuality, both Zimbabwe and Pakistan would finish with 3 wins and 3 losses each, and a net-rate comparison would come into play. Currently, Pakistan has an NRR of +0.76, compared to Zimbabwe’s -0.69. So Zimbabwe would have to win by quite a margin against Pakistan and Kenya to make up the difference.

The other three teams, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, have already qualified for the quarter-finals. But the pecking order in Group A is far from settled. Should Pakistan win both their remaining matches, they would have 5 wins and a loss, which would be better than the best record of 5 wins and a draw that Sri Lanka and Australia could achieve. Pakistan’s rivals for top spot in the group (based on an NRR comparison) could next be New Zealand, also with 5 wins and one loss, assuming they beat Sri Lanka, in their last match, on 18 March.

In their worst case scenario, Pakistan could finish with 3 wins and 3 losses and still qualify, in fourth place, assuming they had a better NRR compared to Zimbabwe. Afridi’s charges could also finish in the 2nd or 3rd position if they win one of the remaining two matches against Zimbabwe and Australia.

For Australia to top the group, they must beat Canada and Pakistan and await Sri Lanka’s victory over New Zealand. For Sri Lanka to top Group A, they would need to beat New Zealand and hope for an Australia win over Pakistan (assuming Pakistan had previously beaten Zimbabwe). This would lead to an NRR comparison between Sri Lanka and Australia, a battle that Sri Lanka is currently winning, with an NRR of +2,705, against Australia’s +1,645. But if Pakistan were to lose to Zimbabwe and beat Australia, it would automatically take Sri Lanka to the top of the group, assuming the co-hosts prevail over New Zealand.

We’ll need to know the results of the New Zealand-Sri Lanka and Australia-Pakistan matches to be able to say for sure how the Group A standings will turn out. But conventional wisdom (for whatever it’s worth) tells us that Pakistan are likely to beat Zimbabwe and lose to Australia. Conventional wisdom, quirky as it always is, also tells us that India are likely to finish second in Group B. For an India-Pakistan quarter-final encounter to happen, Pakistan would have to finish 3rd in Group A .It will depend on a NRR comparison between Pakistan and the loser of the Sri Lanka-New Zealand game.

Depending on whether they want to meet South Africa or India in the quarter-finals, Pakistan should aim for a high or low NRR as they beat Zimbabwe on March 14.

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