What Teams Have Already Qualified For 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 improved the chances of a match between India and Pakistan in the quarter-finals of the ICC World Cup 2011.

Unlike Group B, where the situation is volatile, it is quite possible to predict which teams will qualify for the quarter-finals, from Group A.

These will probably be Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, although 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 teams meet on Monday, March 14, in Kandy, and then wait for the result of Pakistan’s game against Australia.

Zimbabwe has just the lone win, with games against Pakistan and Kenya to play. The best they can hope to achieve is 3 wins by winning their remaining two games. Should Pakistan lose to Zimbabwe and beat Australia, that would give the sub-continental squad 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 outwit Afridi’s wards. In such a situation, Zimbabwe and Pakistan would have 3 wins and 3 losses each, and a net run rate comparison would come into play. Currently, Pakistan has an NRR of +0.76, compared to Zimbabwe’s -0.69. So Zimbabwe would need to gain enough 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 Group A pecking order is far from decided. Should Pakistan win the remaining two matches, they would have 5 wins and a loss, which would be better than the best result of 5 wins and a draw that Sri Lanka and Australia could achieve. Then Pakistan’s rivals for the top position in the group (based on the NRR comparison) could be New Zealand, also with 5 wins and a loss, assuming they beat Sri Lanka, in their last match, on March 18.

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

For Australia to top the group, they would need to beat Canada and Pakistan, and wait for a win against Sri Lanka versus New Zealand. For Sri Lanka to top the Group A pile, they would need to beat New Zealand, and hope for an Australian win over Pakistan (assuming Pakistan beat Zimbabwe earlier). That 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, that would automatically push Sri Lanka to the top of the group, assuming the co-hosts beat New Zealand.

We will need to know the results of the New Zealand-Sri Lanka and Australia-Pakistan games to be able to say definitively how the Group A standings are likely to change. But conventional wisdom (for whatever it’s worth) tells us that Pakistan are likely to beat Zimbabwe and lose to Australia. Conventional wisdom, harsh as it always is, also tells us that India are likely to finish second in Group B. For the India-Pakistan quarter-final to take place, it would have to Pakistan finished in 3rd place in Group A. This would depend on the NRR comparison between Pakistan and the loser of the match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

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

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