What India's path to the semi-finals looks like after key victory
The Men in Bue needed to win and win big against Afghanistan, given that their net run rate was -1.609 before the game. And the team responded in a strong fashion, restricting Afghanistan to 144/7 in their chase of 211.
The win against Afghanistan keeps India’s World Cup hopes alive but there’s a lot that needs to go their way if they are to make it to the semi-finals.
Virat Kohli’s side will have to win their two remaining games, by big margins at that, and hope that New Zealand drop points against either Namibia or Afghanistan.
Remaining Group 2 fixtures
New Zealand vs Namibia
India vs Scotland
New Zealand vs Afghanistan
Pakistan vs Scotland
India vs Namibia
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The net run-rate situation
The 66-run win over Afghanistan helped India finish with a positive net run rate of 0.073. However, they still have a lot of catching up to do as Afghanistan, thanks to their massive win over Scotland, have a net run rate of +1.481 while New Zealand's stands at +0.816.
"NRR was on the back of our mind," said Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation. "We spoke in the team meeting that we have to focus on the chance we have [to qualify] and stay positive and hunt that chance down."
Though India will be happy with their win today, they could end up ruing the fact that they conceded 56 runs in the last five overs, when they could have killed the game and bolstered their net run rate further, which could decide the semi-finalists.
Amongst the many permutations possible, if India do end up winning the remaining two games, New Zealand beat Namibia but lose to Afghanistan, there could be a three-way tie at 6 points, with net run rate deciding which team goes through.
New Zealand have their fate in their own hands
After a defeat in their first game to Pakistan, New Zealand bounced back really well with wins over India and Scotland. They registered a convincing win over Virat Kohli's men, but were guilty of letting the match out of their hands in the game against Scotland, where they won by 16 runs.
Despite the narrow margin of victory against Scotland, New Zealand's net run rate is a solid +0.816. And as things stand, the Black Caps’ fate lies in their own hands - win the remaining games and qualify for the semi-finals.
Namibia need a miracle
At the moment, Scotland are the only team that have been mathematically knocked out of contention for a semi-final spot. Namibia, on the other hand, could still qualify if a lot of results go their way.
More importantly, Namibia themselves will have to beat New Zealand and India by massive margins, given their net run rate is -1.600, in order to make it to the final four.
In a scenario where they win both their remaining games and Afghanistan beat New Zealand by a small margin, Namibia and Afghanistan could be tied at 6 points, with the team with higher NRR going through.