ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Group B scenarios: The Permutations and combinations after India’s shock defeat against Sri Lanka
It would not be an understatement to term this as the biggest upset of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 so far. Sri Lanka defeated defending champions India by seven wickets in the eighth match of the tournament at Kennington Oval, London to throw open the possibilities in Group B. After being put in to bat by Angelo Mathews, India posted an imposing 321/6, courtesy a brilliant 125 from Shikhar Dhawan. However, Sri Lanka (322/3) chased down the target without breaking a sweat and with eight balls to spare to sprung the highest successful run chase in the history of the tournament.
The win not only keeps the Islanders’ hopes of qualifying for the last four alive but also makes the scenarios intriguing. India’s defeat has turned the next two group matches as virtual quarterfinals: India vs South Africa on Sunday and Sri Lanka vs Pakistan on Monday.
Let’s take a look at the various qualification scenarios in Group B which has become wide open for all the four teams:-
INDIA VS SOUTH AFRICA
This is probably the match of the tournament, a clash between two powerhouses of world cricket who have star-studded line-ups on both ends. A virtual quarterfinal for both India and South Africa, the match promises to be a cracker of a contest which will be played at The Oval on 11th June. Whosoever wins the match will directly qualify for the semis.
The Indian bowlers, who drew a lot of flak from all corners post the Lankan victory, will have their tasks cut out against the sturdy and big-hitting Proteas batting unit. For India to have any chance of a win in the match, they would like to contain the likes of Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, and AB de Villiers. Also, South Africa are currently the world number one team in the 50-over format and have the world number one batsman (AB de Villiers) and world number one bowler (Kagiso Rabada) in their arsenal.
SRI LANKA vs PAKISTAN
Both of these sub-continent nations started the tournament as ‘underdogs’ as not many gave them a chance to qualify for the semifinal stage. However, both Pakistan and Sri Lanka have done wonderfully well by scoring victories over South Africa and India, respectively to give themselves another shot at the last four stage after losing their first matches. This is another virtual knockout between the two countries which will be played at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on 12th June.
The contest will be majorly between Sri Lankan batsmen and Pakistani bowlers, who played crucial roles in earning their team’s important wins in the group stage.
IF RAIN PLAYS SPOILSPORT
As they say, you cannot really predict the unpredictable weather of England & Wales. Even in the ICC Champions Trophy, many teams have faced the brunt of the rain gods who created several interruptions during the matches, resulting in the loss of play and live action and also devoiding the teams of results.
In that scenario, if both the above-mentioned matches end in washouts, India and South Africa will automatically qualify courtesy their better Net Run-Rate. However, in case the match between India and South Africa gets abandoned, the defending champions will qualify along with the winner of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka match. Whereas, if the match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka gets abandoned, the Lankan Lions will join the winner of India-South Africa.