India vs Afghanistan T20 World Cup 2021: Can Virat Kohli’s side still qualify for the semi-final?

Defeats in their opening two matches against Pakistan and New Zealand in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 has put Virat Kohli and his boys in a critical situation. The Men-in-Blue will square off against Afghanistan on Wednesday (November 3) with their backs against the wall. Only a win can help India stay alive, mathematically, in the showpiece event.

It will be a change in venue for India after playing both their opening games at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium as they will play Afghanistan at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

“At this moment the focus is to play good cricket in the upcoming matches. We are not looking to calculate run-rate in games yet,” Team India batting coach Vikram Rathour said during a pre-match virtual conference on Tuesday (November 2).

Having faced the wrath of the fans as well for below-par performances so far, it will also be about pride for Kohli’s men as they play under his leadership in the T20 format for the last time in this tournament. But it won’t be easy as Afghanistan have looked good and Team India face an uphill task to reach the semifinal stages.

They need to first win their remaining matches and then they would be hoping for some results to go in their favour. A win against Afghanistan, Namibia, and Scotland will not be enough, Team India needs to register comprehensive wins as the net run rate might come into play as well.

However, before thinking about net run-rate, the team needs to raise the bar in terms of their performances. Team India’s batting has left a lot to be desired and it needs to be seen how they perform in a do-or-die encounter against Afghanistan.

India’s upcoming matches

Vs Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi) on November 3

Vs Scotland (Dubai) on November 5

Vs Namibia (Dubai) on November 8

New Zealand’s upcoming matches

Vs Scotland (Dubai) on November 3

Vs Namibia (Sharjah) on November 5

Vs Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi) on November 7

Afghanistan’s upcoming matches

Vs India (Abu Dhabi) on November 3

Vs New Zealand (Dubai) on November 7

India’s only chance of making it to the semi-final is hope for a 3-way (or 4-way tie) for the semi-final spots at 6 points. Pakistan are already assured of a semi-final berth after defeating Namibia by 45 runs on Tuesday.

While India can’t reach 8 points from hereon, Afghanistan and New Zealand can get to 8 points. Provided the more fancied teams avoid shocks in Group 2 from here on, the November 7 match between Afghanistan and New Zealand will assume a lot of importance.

What do India need to reach the semi-finals?

India need to win all their next 3 matches and win them by big margins to boost their Net Run Rate which is at a dismal -1.609.

* India will hope they can beat Afghanistan by a big margin on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi and Mohammad Nabi’s men go on to beat New Zealand in their final Super 12 match. If India are tied on points with Afghanistan, it’s less likely that they will be able to overtake Nabi’s side on Net Run Rate.

* India should beat Afghanistan by a big margin and hope New Zealand beat Afghanistan in their final Super 12 match – meaning, Afghanistan don’t get to 6 points from here. New Zealand should lose to one of Namibia or Scotland as it gives Kohli’s side an opportunity to overtake the Kiwis’ NRR.


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Sagar Biswas

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