Action-packed Sunday – Match Previews and Qualification Scenarios:
As the mega event is progressing forward, the situation and encounters are becoming more and more nail-biting. Adding to this nervous excitement, 6 teams are once again scheduled to meet each other on field on Sunday. Not only will this Sunday be jam-packed with back to back fixtures, but these matches will be crucial in deciding which two teams from the second group get the ticket to the next round. The favourites are India and South Africa, but keeping in view the way this mega event, thus far, has unfolded itself, no team can be written off.
The first of these three clashes will be between Zimbabwe, whose performance has been like a bolt from the blue since the start of the tournament, and Bangladesh who only have one win to their name.
The second match of the eventful Sunday will be between Pakistan and Netherlands at the Optus Stadium, Perth. Both teams will be looking for their maiden points as none of the said teams have had luck of winning even once in the Super 12 round so far. This match is a must-win match for both teams, whichever team wins it gets more chances of staying in the race.
The third and the final match will be between the high-flying India and South Africa, both teams are currently occupying the 1st and 2nd place in the table respectively.
Pakistan vs Netherlands:
Pakistan have choked badly in the mega event. Pakistan, who were one of the favourites for the coveted trophy at the start of the tournament, have been handed two back to back defeats. Interestingly, in both matches the Babar-led men were in control of the game until the final over. Hard luck, bad captaincy or collapse of batting line – call it what you may but the fact remains standing that these defeats have badly maimed Pakistan’s prospects of reaching the semi finals. Pakistan will now rely on other teams to get to the next round, making the qualification scenario more complex.
Netherlands reside at the last position in the table. After winning two matches against Namibia and UAE in the group stage matches and successfully reserving a place for themselves in the Super 12 round, the Dutch players failed to carry the momentum forward. Hence, the chances of Edwards-led men of reaching the Semi-finals are faced by long odds. This match has become ever so essential for them to bag.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Total matches played (T20Is): 1
Pakistan won: 1
Netherlands won: 0
WEATHER AND PITCH REPORT:
Rain will not play spoilsport in the encounter between Netherlands and Pakistan, as the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts only 5% chance of rain. Light winds are expected during the day.
Perth, just like other grounds down under, has a very batting-friendly pitch. Flat track and quick outfield here help the batsmen to score fearlessly. However, the true bounce here helps the pacemen as well who love to roll their arms over such a bouncy and quick pitch. Short deliveries will be a great weapon of pacers on a pitch like this.
The spinners have been known to bowl good spells here, especially as we have seen during the tournament. Just the other day when Pakistan and Zimbabwe were playing, Shadab Khan and Sikandar Raza, both being spinners, bowled phenomenal deliveries here.
PLAYING XI (PROBABLE):
Netherlands: Max O’Dowd, Vikramjit Singh, Bas de Leede, Colin Ackermann, Tom Cooper, Scott Edwards (c&wk), Tim Pringle, Logan van Beek, Shariz Ahmad, Fred Klaassen, Paul van Meekeren.
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Haider Ali/Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah.
Although, favourites are Babar’s men, Netherlands have the potential to cause an upset as well. In their match against Bangladesh they were defeated by just 9 runs.
However, the problem the Netherlands will have to face will be Pakistan’s pace and spin attack. All of the bowlers of Pakistan have the ability to quell even the best of stroke masters. Adding to that, the Dutch batting lineup has not been very impressive and if they dream of causing an upset to one of the top teams, they will have to establish a firm batting partnership. Failing to do so can easily cost them the match. Pakistan will also have an upper hand given the fact that they have played a match at the Optus Stadium recently.
India vs South Africa:
South Africa have been clinical throughout the tournament. No team has, so far, defeated South Africa in this tournament. Unfortunately for the Proteas, a washed out match lost them 1 point which was given to Zimbabwe, their opponents in that match, as per the rule.
South Africa have been clinical throughout the tournament. Although, they have only played two games, one of which was washed out due to rain, the way they played fearless cricket is worth commending. Their 104 run victory over Bangladesh has skyrocketed their NRR to 5.200, which is the highest among all the participants of the tournament.
India just like South Africa have not lost even a single match as of yet in the tournament. Nevertheless, unlike South Africa rain has not snatched any of their points. India with 4 points top the table and have the maximum chances of reaching the semi-finals in the second group.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Total matches played: 22
India won: 13
South Africa won: 9
WEATHER AND PITCH REPORT:
The Optus Stadium in Perth will host India and South Africa after Pakistan vs Netherlands fixture. The weather is exepcted to stay dry, with almost negligible chance of rain as per the Bureau of Meteorology. Winds of light severity are expected.
The pitch of the Optus Stadium, Perth is essentially a batting pitch with its road like track and quick outfield. The boundary size favours the bowlers as it is huge. Apart from that, pacers try to extract their advantage from the true bounce the pitch offers as well. The spinners have been seen to deliver scintillating spells here in the tournament so far. Shadab Khan, Sikandar Raza, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rehman and Muhammad Nabi, all have been economical on this pitch and even have removed important players.
In conclusion, spinners will be handy for providing breakthroughs especially during mid stages.
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravichandaran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma(c), Rilee Rossouw, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Tristan Stubbs, Wayne Parnell/Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada.
Keeping the recent outings of South Africa in view, we can expect them to defeat India at the Optus on Sunday. The reason for it is a dynamic batting and bowling lineup. India’s batting lineup is second to none. Unfortunately the same can not be said for their bowling attack. Against Pakistan, the bowling lineup struggled as in the first 10 overs, the Rohit’s men constricted Pakistan to only 60 runs but ended up leaking 99 runs in the last 10 overs.
The Indian openers dont look in a fine touch as well and the Proteas’ bowlers will not waste the opportunity of getting rid of them early to put Indian team in pressure.
Things in both groups have become complex as the Super 12 round approaches its end. Let us have a look at how teams from the second group can reach the semi-finals:
The odds of Pakistan reaching the semi-finals are astronomical, but not impossible. Mathematically, Pakistan still have a chance to get featured in the next round of the mega-event. With 0 points in bag and NRR of -0.05, the Pakistan team is at the 5th place in the table.
First things first, Pakistan will have to win all 3 of their next fixtures – which are against Netherlands, South Africa and Bangladesh.
Along with that, Pakistan will have to hope that Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe and India beat South Africa on Sunday. This is extremely crucial as well, as both Zimbabwe and South Africa reside at a position higher than Pakistan.
India are currently at the top position in the table with 4 points and NRR of 1.425. However, India need to cement their chances and tighten their grip on either first or second place. For that, India must win 2 of their 3 remaining matches to end this round with a total of 8 points.
With rain washing out one of their games, South Africa have 3 points next to their name and NRR of 5.200. For reaching the next round, the Bavuma-led men will have to win against any two of Pakistan, Netherlands and India. Along with that, they will have to hope that Zimbabwe lose atleast 1 one of their three matches. In this case, both South Africa and Zimbabwe will get 7 points each and owing to their higher NRR, the Proteas will reach the semi finals.
Zimbabwe have three points right now with NRR of 0.05. For reaching the semis, Zimbabwe will have to beat all of their next opponents and hope for the Proteas to lose one of their outings. Thus, ending the round with 9 points at either 1st or 2nd place.
Bangladesh have 2 points and a disappointing NRR of -2.375. For reaching the next round, the Shakib-led men will have to win all 3 of their next matches and hope for South Africa to lose one of their next fixtures.
The odds are near impossible for Netherlands to reach the semi-finals. They have 0 points and NRR of -1.625. The Dutch will have to win all of their next matches and hope both South Africa along with Zimbabwe lose 1 of their remaining matches.