The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is just one week away from the completion of the league stages. Australia are on top of the table, followed by India, New Zealand and Pakistan. The results on Saturday has only intensified the race for the play-offs. Pakistan held on for a tense three-wicket win against Afghanistan and this has boosted them to fourth spot. India, on the other hand, are undefeated in the tournament so far and a win in their last remaining games.
The question on everyone’s mind is: What are the chances of India and Pakistan clashing in the semi-final or possibly in the final? The India vs Pakistan clash is considered a marquee contest only because of the sheer emotion and the passion of the millions of fans. India recently defeated Pakistan in Old Trafford, Manchester on June 16 by 89 runs via DLS method. A clash between the two arch-rivals, that too in the knock-out stages, could be a shot in the arm for the fans and for the ICC.
If this situation happens, then this will be the first time ever that India and Pakistan clash in the same edition twice and it will be the third time that they play in the knock-outs, with India winning the quarterfinal encounter and the semi-final clash in Bangalore and Mohali in the 1996 and 2011 edition. What are the chances of these two teams clashing together in the knockouts? The probability is quiet high.
What they must do? Firstly, India have a chance to either finish first, second or third while Pakistan at best can finish in third position. Thus, for the semi-final to happen, these scenarios must take place. Remember, the semi-finals will be a clash between first and fourth as well as second and third placed teams.
India must win all their remaining games against England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. If they achieve that, they will top the group. If they win only two out of three, they will have to hope Australia lose their last league game to South Africa. If Australia beats South Africa and India lose one game, they will end up second. For Pakistan, they will have to beat Bangladesh and hope England and Sri Lanka lose two games in order to finish fourth. Looking at the poor net run rate of Pakistan, they can at best hope for a fourth-place finish.
Thus, if India win all games and Pakistan end up in fourth spot, then India will take on Pakistan in the first semi-final on July 9 in Old Trafford, Manchester. There can also be a possibility of India and Pakistan playing in Edgbaston on July 11. If India lose one game and Australia beats South Africa, then they will be in second position. Pakistan must thrash Bangladesh by a massive margin and hope England absolutely decimate New Zealand so that Pakistan’s net run rate can be boosted and they finish in third. In that case, India will play Pakistan in the second semi-final in Edgbaston on July 11 but that looks pretty hard.
What are the chances of India vs Pakistan final? That will be the ultimate clash in the history of the 50-over World Cup. For that to happen, these are the things the team needs to do.
India finish second and Pakistan finish fourth after the end of the league stages. Assuming Australia and New Zealand are the other teams, Australia face Pakistan and New Zealand take on India. Pakistan must beat Australia while India must beat New Zealand in the semi-final clashes. This is the only way for India and Pakistan to play in Lord’s on July 14. The only team that can upset this is England if they win both their games.