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WT20: India's semi-final chances not really hopeless

Last updated on: May 10, 2010 23:18 IST

When India lost to the West Indies on Sunday, the men in blue really did have their millions of fans singing the blues. Even the staunchest fan was very depressed, since it was clear a miracle of sorts was needed for India to progress to the semi-final stage.

The earlier huge loss to Australia meant that India's Nett Run Rate (NRR) was deep in the negative, and their loss to the Windies didn't help matters much.

Indian fans, however, woke up on Monday to great news that could chase away some of the Monday blues --  Sri Lanka's big 81-run loss to Australia meant that India's chances had vastly improved!

For India to go through to the semi-final stage for the second time in three attempts, two key results need to go their way:

India needs to win fairly comfortably against Sri Lanka (we will define what "comfortable" really is shortly),

The Aussies will need to do India a favour by beating the West Indies (by at least 4 runs).

In this situation, Australia will be on 6 points (3 wins), with a three-way tie for second place -- India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies all having 2 points each.

NRR now comes into the picture to break the tie. West Indies' current NRR of  minus 1.025 would definitely improve unless they lose by more than 20 runs to Australia. However, a loss by more than 4 runs would not improve their NRR to above that of India.

India, therefore, need to win by a comfortable margin to stay in the tournament. What exactly is comfortable to pip the Lankan Lions and the fan-favourite Windies?

This is where the calculator, better still the Excel sheets, come out.

Here are the possibilities:

Scenario 1: If Sri Lanka bat first

If Sangakkara's team bats first, India will need to reach the victory target from 1.5 overs (one over, five deliveries) to 2.5 overs (two overs, five deliveries) to spare, depending on the target. With all due respects to the Sri Lankans, cricket is a funny game that can make a fool of anyone. For this reason, calculations have been made for a range of 60 to 280 runs!

Here are details for every possible Sri Lankan score.

a. If the Lankans score in the range

b. Maximum overs India can take to reach the winning target (overs, deliveries)

60 to 77


78 to 104


105 to 133


134 to 168


169 to 208


209 to 256


256 to 275


The table above assumes that India's winning total will be just one run more than Sri Lanka's score. If for example, India's winning hit is a boundary when only run is required to win, the number of overs to attain the winning target could be a few deliveries less than the figure shown in column b above.

Scenario 2: India bat first

No tables are needed in this case. India will need to win by at least 19 runs to progress. In every such case, India will end up with a NRR of minus 0.7333 to Sri Lanka's -0.7500, meaning a positive difference of  0.016667.

For example, if India bats first, scores 160 in 20 overs and bowls Sri Lanka out for 141 (a 19-run margin of victory), India's NRR would be minus -0.7333 (total 450 runs for in 60 overs batted as against 494 given away in 60 overs bowled. In this case, SL would end up with a NRR of  minus 0.750 (421 runs scored in 60 overs of barring vs 466 runs conceded in 60 overs of bowling).

The Bottomline

India's task, then, is not impossible.

However, can the Indians make short work of the short deliveries that will be bowled to them? Can they pull off a semi-final berth with productive pulls, cuts and hooks?

Every Indian cricket fan will be hoping they can!

PS: India just cannot afford a wash-out in either match. Such no-results would put Sri Lanka and Gayle's men on three points, marking an Indian exit.

If India beat Sri Lanka comfortable as per the figures above, and the Windies lose to Australia by less than 4 runs, India may still have to exit.

About the author: Karthik Ramamurthy is a Project Management consultant. Like most Indians, he is a die-hard cricket fan, and has contributed cricket-related articles, quizzes and crosswords for over 15 years to publications like The Hindu, Sportstar, CricInfo and Rediff, apart from being a part-time Quiz Master, conducting programs for corporates, colleges and schools. He is Director of KeyResultz Ventures a PM Best Practices company, and President of the Chennai Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Karthik K Ramamurthy, KeyResultz Ventures