T20 World Cup – Who Stands Where
This T20 world cup has been very enjoyable so far. With an even contest between both bowler and batsman, we have been able to see some very good cricket being played by the different nations. We have had high-scoring thrillers, such as Australia’s all-but-successful chase against Pakistan’s massive 191, and down-the-wire encounters, such as South Africa’s jailbreak 2-run win against New Zealand. We have been treated to magic from the fingers of the bowlers, as well as brute hitting from the batsmen. Overall, it’s been a league you’d put down your textbook to watch.
How They Stand
So far, the teams stand at fairly even positions. The exceptions would be from Bangladesh and the Netherlands, who are at the bottom of their groups, courtesy of some terrible cricket and tremendous defeats. Some other exceptions would be India and Sri Lanka, who are at the top of their groups having not lost a single game so far in the tournament. Sri Lanka’s first game involved a close but clinical triumph over South Africa, and the second a monstrous thrashing of the Netherlands, in which the latter was bowled out for a mere 39 (which is the lowest total in T20Is ever). The impact of that defeat on Netherlands is very evident as their Net Run Rate currently sits at -6.05. India, on the other hand, overcame both Pakistan and the West Indies courtesy of some marvelous bowling (from Amit Mishra in particular), which gave their batsmen only 130-odd totals to chase. Of course 130 is not necessarily a terrible score, but when your opposition has an Virat Kohli in the form he is in, it is really infinitesimal. All the other teams that have played 2 games stand with one win and one loss.
Who Needs to Buck Up
While India and Sri Lanka stand in paradise for the time being, the other teams need to pick themselves up and push hard if they want a place in the semifinals. At the moment, the West Indies and New Zealand are much better placed than the others, and hence will just need to look to try and keep their spots by winning. However, teams like South Africa, England, Australia and Pakistan suffer from low net run rates, and will need to not only push for wins, but big ones. At the back of the table, Bangladesh and the Netherlands will need to push extremely hard and win huge victories to seize the already improbable chance they have of qualifying.
Net Run Rate Factor
As we have seen so often in so many different T20 tournaments, net run rate can often be the difference between whether a side qualifies or not. This tournament is no different. Net run rate has a crucial role to play, particularly with the small, 5-team groups. In group 1 (Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa, Netherlands and England), Sri Lanka dominate in this aspect as well. Following their colossal thrashing of Netherlands, they stand with a net run rate of +3.23, which is unmatched by any other side (second highest is New Zealand with +0.28). Hence, it is unlikely that any other team would be able to undermine Sri Lanka that way. They will all need to fight for the second spot, and try to bypass New Zealand. In group 2 (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia and West Indies), however, the competition is much wider. Toppers India have a net run rate of just +0.36, and the highest net run rate is +1.75 with the West Indies. This gives all the other teams a chance to pull through if they can get that one big win, which would boost their NRRs.
Who Needs To Do What?
In the case of India and Sri Lanka, I feel that all they need to do would be to play safe and just go for the wins, as that would keep them on top by points, irrespective of NRR. Same case with New Zealand and the West Indies. South Africa and Pakistan have got the groove, but need that one 40-run/3 overs to spare victory to push themselves ahead of the rest. Australia and England have a low NRR due to large defeats, but have the edge of having played only 1 match so far. This gives them more opportunities, but they will still need at least two 40-run wins to push their NRR ahead of the others.