March 21, 2007

Some thoughts on Friday's crucial Ind - SL match.

After Sri Lanka's big win over Bangladesh today, equation is pretty straightforward for India on Friday: win and qualify and carry two points to the Super 8. It is all but impossible for Bangladesh to qualify if India wins on Friday.

A quick calculation: India scored 191 + 413 = 604 runs in 100 overs and gave away 192 + 156 = 348 runs in 98.3 overs. So they are +256 in terms of runs. If they beat Sri Lanka, their net will be at least +257.

Bangladesh scored 192 + 112 = 304 in 94.3 overs and gave away 191 + 312 = 503 in 96 overs (today's match came to DL, with Bangladesh's target revised to 311 in 46 overs). This gives Bangladesh a net score of -199. This means Bangladesh will need to win the Bermuda game by just below 199 + 250 = 449. We can safely assume it's not going to happen.

So India just needs to win against Sri Lanka. In the recent past we had a good record over SL, with a 6-1 win in 2005 and a 2-1 win just before the World Cup. But things are different now. India will be under immense pressure. SL are on a high.

Common perception is that SL prefer to have BD in Super 8, as in that case they would carry 2 points. But the problem then is: it will mean all the other teams in Super 8 (other than Ireland) are virtually guaranteed 2 points. Of course, SL also have those two points. But teams carrying two points from other groups will have an advantage. These will be New Zealand, AUS/SA, WI/Ire. Frankly, NZ and AUS/SA are virtually guaranteed Semi-Final spots with two matches against Bangladesh and Ireland. So SL will end up fighting for one of the remaining two spots with WI and AUS/SA. It might be better for them to have India in Super 8, so that no spot in SF is certain, even at the cost of two points. This is not to suggest that SL will do anything less than 100% on Friday. But they might just be tempted to try out some reserve players.

Anyway for India, it's the proverbial do or die. On March 23 four years ago they had a bad day. But that was the final. Now they are in danger of a knock out in the group stage.

As for us fans, let's hope that we will have a good match while praying that India will win. But let us also remember that it's only a game.

I forgot to mention that an Indian loss on Friday won't technically knock them out. They might pray for a Bermuda win over Bangladesh, which is surely highly unlikely. Given their run rate, India will qualify after a 3-way tie between Bangladesh, Bermuda and India.


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