Action-Packed Sunday – Match Previews and Qualification Scenarios:
The last day of the battle for reaching the Semi-final will see all 6 teams from the second group competing against each other to help their respective side stay in the race for glory. The end of this day, which is expected to be nothing less than a thriller, will reveal which teams will occupy the remaining two positions to join New Zealand and England in the top-four round. The triple-header will end up shattering all the ifs and buts to make the tournament move on to the next arena. Let us see what another Sunday triple-header has to offer to us:
South Africa vs Netherlands:
The first match of the enthralling day will be played between the Dutch and the Proteas. The fixture is due to be staged at the Adelaide Oval. Although the Netherlands team is out of the contention they can still cause an upset for the South African team. Funnily, the way this tournament has unfolded itself, an upset from Netherlands against the mighty South Africa can not be written off as an impossibility.
The Proteas can not afford to lose from the Dutch team as this will most certainly get them a ticket back home and destroy their dreams of taking the trophy along with them to pieces. The African team had been unbeaten in the whole event before the cornered tigers of Babar Azam handed them their first 33-runs defeat on Thursday. With this defeat, the hopes of South Africa being the first team to make it to the next round were damaged but not beyond repair.
The Netherlands, unfortunately, don’t have any chance of staying in the race as a part of the top-four teams of the tournament. Their first win over the Chevrons on Thursday was also not enough to revive their chances of reaching the semi-final. They now just have to play their remaining fixture on Sunday and hope to come back stronger next time.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Total matches played: 1
South Africa won: 1
Netherlands won: 0
WEATHER AND PITCH REPORT:
The weather in Adelaide will remain sunny throughout Sunday. The chance of rain is negligible and there is a little possibility of clouds ruling the sky. The sun will shine in its full swing and winds are expected to make frequent visits. A full game is definitely on cards as per the forecast.
The ground of Adelaide is where the batters ally with the pitch to punish the bowlers. The flat, road-like track of the Adelaide Oval makes it a paradise for the strokemasters. In addition to that, the fast outfield and the bounce of pitch make clearing the boundaries certain and easy for the batters. The boundary size, however, must be kept in mind when aiming to hit the boundaries. The straight boundaries are bigger in size than the square boundaries, as a result, batsmen usually prefer hitting the short boundaries.
The bowlers, although, don’t get favoured here as much as the batters, the bounce in the initial stages helps them combine their mastery with it to send the batsmen home early. Spinners get turn from the pitch as well, especially in death overs.
PLAYING XI (PROBABLE):
Netherlands: Stephan Myburgh, Max O’Dowd, Tom Cooper, Colin Ackermann, Bas de Leede, Scott Edwards (c&wk), Roelof van der Merwe, Logan van Beek, Fred Klaassen, Paul van Meekeren, Brandon Glover.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma(c), Rilee Rossouw, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen/Tristan Stubbs Wayne Parnell, Keshav Maharaj/ Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada.
This is a do-or-die fixture for the South African team. Either they will reserve their place in the semis or book themselves a ticket back to their country. As seen in their match against Pakistan, the out-of-form Skipper Temba Bavuma played a sensible knock before he was dismissed by Shadab Khan. This is positive news for the Africans, as they can hope the openers to establish a strong batting stand.
The African bowlers will remain a threat even on the batting assistive pitch of the Adelaide Oval. The pace attack along with spinners will look to restrain Netherlands from scoring as low as possible.
We can expect Netherlands to cause an upset but doing so in such a high-octane match, that too against an injured beast like South Africa is practically not so possible.
Pakistan vs Bangladesh:
The second encounter of the day will be played between two Asian countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This match is again a must-win for both teams. However, for Bangladesh winning this would mean less than for Pakistan. This is because for the Bengal tigers to reach the next round, defeating Pakistan must come with defeats of both South Africa and India, that too by a huge margin. Things for Pakistan, on the other hand, are not as difficult. In order to land among the elites of Super 12 round, Pakistan will have to make sure to beat Bangladesh as a first step.
Pakistan or as the World calls them ‘the unpredictables’ proved again why they are called so after their mind-blowing performance on Thursday. After losing to Zimbabwe by 1 run, Babar’s men bashed the Proteas to win the fixture by 33 runs. Their victory against the then-unbeaten South Africa gave their hopes of staying in the game a new life. Things, though, still remain very complex for Pakistan as they don’t have a lot of things in their hands. Their place in the semi-finals is conditional to an upset that must be caused either by the Dutch, the Chevrons or even the weather. With 2 wins and 4 points in their bag with an NRR of 1.117, the prospects of the Shaheens remain suspended by a thread.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Total matches played: 17
Pakistan won: 15
Bangladesh won: 2
WEATHER AND PITCH REPORT:
The weather will remain sunny and dry with no chance of rain in Adelaide. Winds are expected, apart from that the weather will not disturb the game in any way.
The Adelaide Oval is more of a batting-friendly pitch. Batters find playing here very easy. This is one of the reasons why high scoring totals are scripted here oftentimes. Saying that this is the best batting pitch down under, will in no way be an understatement. The bounce helps the ball come nicely to the bat and also gives assistance to the batter to read the ball in order to time it for graceful strokes. Furthermore, the fast outfield makes sure that the ball collides with the boundary line once it has been hit by the batter. Fielding here will be a quite some task.
As the ground will host both asian countries after Netherlands and South Africa’s encounter, the pitch will be worn-out and it is expected that spinners will be favoured more than usual. Also, the dry weather will be assisting the tweakers as well.
Pacers can deliver full length balls or hoodwink the batters into hitting towards the bigger straight boundaries.
PLAYING XI (PROBABLE):
Bangladesh: Najmul Hossain Shanto, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mosaddek Hossain, Yasir Ali, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud.
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Haris, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah.
Both teams have performed quite decently in their recent outing. For Bangladesh, the result was not the one they needed, however, their performance was up to the par. Continuing their fearless approach which gave the table topper India a hard time, they can supersede Pakistan. The Bengal spinners will love to bowl over Adelaide’s cracky pitch.
Along with that, the pacers in the initial stage with new ball can also target the quiet brutes of the Shaheens, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, who thus far in the mega event have failed to impress anyone with their bat but remain a threat to the bowlers whatsoever. However, the Tigers will need to establish decent batting partnerships, without which their chances to dominate Pakistan will evaporate.
Pakistan, too, will be entering the arena without any fear or doubt and will look to settle for nothing less than victory. The recent performances by the Pakistani middle order have given the team a lift in their spirits. This, if paired with Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan’s much needed comeback, can turn the Pakistan batting lineup into a beast. Adding to that, the bowling lineup of Pakistan, so far in the tournament, has not witnessed even a single bad day at office. They will surely look to complement their batting side to help the team reach home. Hence, Pakistan are favourites for the match tomorrow.
India vs Zimbabwe:
The final battle of both the triple-header and the Super 12 round will be played between India and Zimbabwe at the historic ground of Melbourne, the MCG. India are currently soaring over other teams of their group while Zimbabwe sit at the 5th position on the table.
The route for India towards the finals is simple and, unlike others, in their own hands. They only need to beat Zimbabwe and they will find themselves among the top-four teams. Failing to do so has the potential to eliminate them from the tournament without respecting their points, NRR or the position in the table.
Zimbabwe has not beaten any team in the tournament except Pakistan. Although after that victory they have faced two back to back defeats, their spirits still remain high making them believe they can dominate any side. If Zimbabwe cause another upset, they will play a huge role in knocking the high-flying India out. However, even with the unexpected results of the tournament in mind, it still seems a little unlikely for the Chevrons to beat the mighty India.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Total matches played: 7
India won: 5
Zimbabwe won: 2
WEATHER AND PITCH CONDITIONS:
The chance of rain in Melbourne is around 50% which will be further lessened in the afternoon, when the match is set to be played. Clouds and winds will remain throughout the day and a thunderstorm is expected as well. However, no rain in the sight to disturb the match will be a gleeful news for both teams.
As for the pitch conditions, Melbourne is known to favour batters alot, like many pitches down under. The bounce this pitch offers has helped batsmen play easy shots, since the ball comes nicely onto the bat. Although hitting boundaries will not be very frequent here, running between wickets for 2s and 3s will be what batters will rely on more. Pace can be used by batters for their advantage to hit the boundaries, should they time the ball perfectly.
The gigantic size boundaries of the MCG and the bounce and pace it offers to the bowlers predict that a high scoring total is not on boards here.
Bowlers, especially pacers can use the carry and bounce of the pitch to strike during their spells and also to restrict the batters from scoring a lot of runs.
PLAYING XI (PROBABLE):
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.
Zimbabwe: Wessly Madhevere, Craig Ervine (c), Regis Chakabva (wk), Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Richard Ngarava, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani.
The Indian team, throughout the event, has displayed individual performances of such stature that has helped them cruise through the most part of the tournament without being defeated. Without any pressure, winning against Zimbabwean team will be quite easy for the Indian team as they will only need to put their natural game on the display.
The batting lineup of India is adorned with lethal batters. If the MCG remains true to its natural conditions, the Indian batters will be unstoppable here. The Chevrons spin attack can be a hindrance for them but batsmen like Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav, once get their feet firm on the pitch become exceedingly tough to remove. This makes the team India a comfortable favourites for tomorrow.
WHERE TO WATCH:
TV Broadcast: Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Mix, Star Sports, Fox Sports 501 & Channel 9 HD, 9GemHD.
PTV Sports and A Sports will broadcast the match on television for viewers in Pakistan.
Digital Broadcast: Sky GO, Sky Sports app, Daraz app, AryZap, Tapmad, Rabbithole.
Upsets throughout the tournament have brought the decision of the semi-finalists down to the last moment. The fates of all the teams look intertwined. Especially Pakistan, who willneed an extra hand from the outside to get aboard for the semi-finals. Let us see how each team can pave their way towards the next round:
India has the highest chances of reaching the next round with 6 points and top position in the group. All they have to write in their to-do list is ‘Beat Zimbabwe’. If they get success in doing so, they will easily land among the other semi-finalists.
South Africa’s defeat against Pakistan inflicted their chances of reaching the semi-final round with a huge blow. Their final match against Netherlands has now become a do-or-die match. Should they win this, they will have 7 points next to their name and NRR, most likely, better than even India. These 7 points will easily make the African team reach semi finals easily. However, if they lose against the Netherlands, they will have to hope for the match between Pakistan and Bangladesh to be abandoned giving both teams 5 points. The abandoned match will help them get a place in the semi-final as they will have the same number of points and wins as both Bangladesh and Pakistan but NRR higher than both.
Situation for the unpredictable Pakistan is not as worry-free as for the two aforementioned contenders of the semi-finals. Pakistan has 4 points as of now and the maximum they can get are 6 points. Even if Pakistan win against the Bangladesh team, they will have to hope for any of the Dutch or Chevrons to cause an upset. This means that to see themselves reach the semi finals, Babar’s men will have to wait for either India or South Africa to be eliminated. Another possibility could be to hope that the match between South Africa and Netherlands ends up as a washout. In that case, the Proteas will get a total of six points and their number of wins will be lesser than that of Pakistan (assuming that Pakistan beat Bangladesh as well). However, the chances of rain at the Adelaide Oval are negligible.
Bangladesh, in order to reach the semi-finals, must defeat Pakistan with a huge margin as they will be needing both points and NRR. Besides that, the Bengal tigers will have to hope that both India and South Africa lose from their respective oppositions as well.