T20 World Cup: Can the Men in Blue still qualify for the semi-finals?

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With two back to back humiliating defeats in as many games, the Virat Kohli-led Team India are on the brink of making an early exit from the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, currently underway in the UAE.

After being crushed to a 10-wicket defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan in their campaign opener, the Men in Blue, once again succumbed against New Zealand on Sunday (October 31), suffering an eight-wicket loss this time. Team India, who were one of the pre-tournament favourites to lift the coveted trophy, now face an uphill task to make it to the semi-finals of the showpiece event.

After last night’s result, one thing that would be in every Indian cricket fan’s mind is that can the Kohli-led side still have a chance to advance to the semi-finals?

Undoubtedly, India still carries a slight chance of making to the knock-outs however, for that to happen the Kholi’s side not only needs to win all its remaining matches but would also expect other results to go in their favour.

India will now need to beat Afghanistan, which are seated at the second spot in the point-table with a decent net run-rate (NRR) of (+3.097). India also needs to beat Scotland and Namibia by huge margins to improve its own NRR, which is -1.609 currently.

On the other hand, the Babar Azam-led Pakistan is likely to win its remaining matches against Scotland and Namibia to finish at the top of the table.

Meanwhile from India’s prospective, Afghanistan needs to beat the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand and if not, then the Kiwis must beat the Mohammad Nabi-led side not by a big margin. Moreover, either Namibia or Scotland need to pull off an upset against New Zealand, which seems an unlikley affair.

Even if all the above mentioned things goes India’s way, then the Black Caps will finish the league stage with six points like India and in such a scenario, everything would then rely on the NRR, which would decide the second semifinalist from the Group 2.

Earlier after going down against New Zealand, Kohli admitted that his side wasn’t brave enough in any department of the game.

“I don’t think we were brave enough with bat or ball. We didn’t have much to defend but we weren’t brave when we walked out to field. When you play for the Indian cricket team you have a lot of expectations – not just from fans, but players as well,” Kohli said after the defeat to New Zealand.

“So there’s always going to be more pressure with our games and we’ve embraced it over the years. Everyone who plays for India has to embrace it. And when you cope together as a team you overcome it and we haven’t done it these two games. Just because you’re the Indian team and there are expectations doesn’t mean you start playing differently. I think we’re fine, there’s a lot of cricket left to play,” he added.

The Men in Blue are slated to next face Afghanistan on Wednesday (November 3) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

News Desk

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