India's defeat to England has not ended their chances of securing a semifinal spot in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup, but the loss could have big implications for the remainder of their campaign.
Had India won against England, Harmanpreet Kaur led side could have attained control of Group 2 and put one foot in the semifinals. But they failed to chase down the total of 152. It has left India's fate out of their hands.
On basis of form and rankings, it is still likely that India will earn their semifinal spot, but it is far from being confirmed.
Currently, England is at the top of group two with three wins in three matches and six points. India is in second place with two wins in three matches and a total of four points. Pakistan is at the third position, having won one out of their two games, they have a total of two points. Windies is in the fourth position with one win in three games and a total of two points. Ireland is at the bottom, having lost all their three matches so far.
India's semifinal chances will be heavily dependent on Sunday's clash between Pakistan and West Indies.
If West Indies beat Pakistan:
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India will have a close eye on the West Indies match against Pakistan on Sunday. Both teams are two points behind the Women in Blue and have one and two games left to play respectively. Pakistan's schedule and superior net-run rate make them a huge threat to their arch-rivals.
If Windies win their match against Pakistan, it will help India heavily. It will see both Windies and India tied at four points. It would be also highly unlikely for the Windies to leapfrog India on the table because of their inferior net run rate. It will also stop Pakistan at just two points for a while before they play their final game against England.
A loss for Pakistan would leave them in a position where they will have to win their final group-stage game against England to earn a total of four points and need India to lose to Ireland in order to qualify for the final four. In this case, both teams will finish with four points and Pakistan will leapfrog India on basis of a better NRR.
If Pakistan beats West Indies:
But if Pakistan, which already has two points to their name, wins the match, they will have four points, move above India on basis of NRR with their final match against England to come. India will have to beat Ireland in their final group-stage match to keep their hopes alive. If India does it, it would take Pakistan a win over England to deny their arch-rivals a place in the final four.
If India loses to Ireland, they will have to rely on England to beat Pakistan by a massive margin to ensure a huge NRR swing in their favour.
Is top-two finish an issue for India?
India can still finish as group winners and advance to the semifinals, but NRR stands in their way. The loss to England means that they defeat Ireland by a huge margin and hope that England also suffers a big loss to Pakistan. Only these two things will help swing the NRR equation in India's favour.
A top-two finish would mean qualifying for semifinal, finishing second would not be a problem for India. But India has a reason to avoid the second-place finish as whoever finishes second in Group 2 will have to play Australia in the semifinals.
With the form Australia is in, they are a team that other sides will be hoping to avoid, at least till the final clash.
Australia is chasing a hat-trick of T20 World Cup titles and is the top-ranked team in the format. Since their tournament win back in 2020, they have won a total of 22 matches in the format and have lost only two, to New Zealand.
India's recent record against Australia is not great either. They suffered a loss to them in the final of Commonwealth Games cricket tournament final back in August and India had to settle for a silver. After that, India suffered a 4-1 loss to the Aussies in the T20I series at home in December.
India will play their final group-stage match against Ireland on Monday.
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