Group A And Group B World Cup Cricket 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 India and Pakistan meeting in the quarterfinals of the ICC World Cup 2011.

Unlike group B, as things stand, it is possible to predict which teams will enter the quarter-finals, from Group A.

These should be Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, although this may not be the case. Zimbabwe has an outside chance of winning at the expense of Pakistan. To achieve this, the Africans will need to beat Shahid Afridi’s men, as the team meets on Monday, March 14, in Kandy, and awaits the results of the match between Pakistan and Australia.

Zimbabwe have only won, and games against Pakistan and Kenya are still to be played. The best they can hope to achieve is 3 wins by winning all their remaining games. If Pakistan can defeat Zimbabwe and beat Australia, this would give the sub-continental team 4 wins and 2 losses, enough to threaten Zimbabwe’s interests.

Zimbabwe’s best hope is to beat Pakistan and hope Australia wins Afridi’s wards. In that case, Zimbabwe and Pakistan could have three wins and three losses, and a similar comparison would be possible. Meanwhile, Pakistan has an NRR of +0.76, against Zimbabwe’s -0.69. So Zimbabwe would need to win by a big enough margin against Pakistan and Kenya, to close the gap.

Three other teams, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, have already reached the quarter-finals. But the order of priority in Group A was not considered. If Pakistan had won all their remaining matches, they would have had 5 wins and a loss, which would be better than the best results of 5 wins and a tie that Sri Lanka and Australia could achieve. Pakistan’s top contenders in this group (based on NRR comparison) would be New Zealand, also 5 wins and a loss, assuming they beat Sri Lanka, in their last match, on March 18.

In their worst case scenario, Pakistan could end up with 3 wins and 3 losses and still qualify, in fourth place, assuming they had a better NRR compared to Zimbabwe. What Afridi is calling them could be number 2 or 3 after they win their remaining two matches against Zimbabwe and Australia.

For Australia to top the group, they need to beat Canada and Pakistan, and wait for Sri Lanka to beat New Zealand. For Sri Lanka to get to the top of the Group A heap, they need to beat New Zealand, and hopefully Australia beat Pakistan (assuming Pakistan beat Zimbabwe). This would lead to a comparison of NRR between Sri Lanka and Australia, a battle in which Sri Lanka is winning, with an NRR of +2.705, against Australia’s +1.645. But if Pakistan loses to Zimbabwe, and beats Australia, this would put Sri Lanka at the top of the group, assuming their rivals New Zealand beat them.

We 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 end. But conventional wisdom (whatever that is) tells us that Pakistan can beat Zimbabwe and lose to Australia. Conventional wisdom, strong as always, also tells us that India could finish second in Group B. For an India-Pakistan quarter-final meeting to take place, Pakistan would have to finish 3rd in Group A. This would depend on the estimation of NRR between Pakistan and the loser of the Sri Lanka-New Zealand match.

Depending on whether they want to face South Africa or India, in the quarter-finals, Pakistan should have a higher or lower NRR, when they beat Zimbabwe, on March 14.

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