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World T20: The equation for India to make it to semis

Last updated on: May 11, 2010 19:18 IST

India have their back against the wall after successive defeats in the Super Eights at the ICC World Twenty20. But all is not lost for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys.

Had Sri Lanka beaten Australia, Indian players would have been on their way back home by now. But Sri Lanka's heavy loss to Australia has given India hope and they still stand a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Of course for this to happen, India have to beat Sri Lanka and then hope that Australia beat West Indies.

Any other result (including a wash-out) will put an end to India's run in the tournament.

If India beat Sri Lanka and Australia beat West Indies, then three teams in Group F -- India, Sri Lanka and West Indies -- will be tied on the points and Net Run-Rate (NRR) will decide the second semi-finalist from the group.

As you will see from the following table, India is currently last on the NRR account because of their two defeats, but the above results will change the scenario dramatically.

Standings in Group F:

Team

Mts

Won

Lost

Points

NRR

Australia

2

2

0

4

+3.250

Sri Lanka

2

1

1

2

-0.600

West Indies

2

1

1

2

-1.075

India

2

0

2

0

-1.575

There have been reports that India need to beat Sri Lanka by a huge margin and then need Australia to inflict a heavy defeat over West Indies. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

All India need to do is to beat Sri Lanka and ensure that they win by at least 20 runs if they bat first, or with 2.1 to 3 overs to spare if they bat second (see equation below)

In such a scenario India will be ahead of Sri Lanka on net run-rate. If Australia then beat West Indies by the narrowest possible margin (by one run or off the last ball of the match), then India will be through, since India's NRR will be marginally better than West Indies' NRR.

Equation for India to qualify for the semifinals:

(If India bat first)

India have to ensure that the victory margin is not less than 20 runs for whatever target they set. It won't make any difference whether India make 100 or 200, the victory margin has to be 20 runs. This will ensure that India need not depend upon the margin by which Australia beat West Indies. Just a victory for Australia will suffice.

(If India bat second)
The equation becomes a bit complex in this case, but not much. India have to ensure that they plan their chase according to the following chart:

SL's total

India will need to win in (overs)

Net Run-Rate (NRR)

India

Sri Lanka

West Indies*

50

17

-0.7167

-0.7482

-0.7333

75

17.1

-0.7310

-0.7322

-0.7333

100

17.2

-0.7302

-0.7322

-0.7333

125

17.2

-0.7109

-0.7516

-0.7333

150

17.3

-0.7318

-0.7478

-0.7333

175

17.4

-0.7191

-0.7417

-0.7333

200

17.5

-0.7268

-0.7332

-0.7333

* Considering that West Indies lose to Australia by one run

The task is difficult, but not impossible. If India stick to the basics, there is no reason why they can't register a emphatic win. Dhoni and his boys need to perform at their best in their do-or-die encounter against Sri Lanka or else it will be an early return home for the 2007 Twenty20 world champions.

Rajneesh Gupta