Women's Cricket World Cup: With just two days left in the league stage, we take a look at India’s performances in the six matches that they’ve played and how they can make it to the semis.
The 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup has witnessed a number of intense battles, some incredible displays of athleticism, magnificent knocks as well as outstanding bowling displays and now looks set for an exciting finish as far as the race to the semi-finals is concerned.
As many as three teams are locked in an intense battle for the remaining playoff spots in the league stage of the tournament, which concludes this Sunday. With Australia and South Africa having already qualified for the knockouts and currently occupying the top two spots, England, West Indies and India find themselves in contention for the two remaining semi-final positions.
Hosts New Zealand haven’t produced their best display in the tournament but somehow find themselves hanging by a thread with four points against their name. However, they’ll need a massive victory in their final game of the league stage against Pakistan and will then have to rely on other results going their way for them to be featuring in the knockouts.
With just two days left in the league stage, we take a look at India’s performances in the six matches that they’ve played and how they can make it to the semis:
India’s journey so far:
6 March: Beat Pakistan by 107 runs
10 March: Lost to New Zealand by 62 runs
12 March: Beat West Indies by 155 runs
16 March: Lost to England by 4 wickets
19 March: Lost to Australia by 6 wickets
22 March: Beat Bangladesh by 110 runs
Barring a setback against hosts New Zealand, India were off to a flying start in the tournament with massive victories over Pakistan and West Indies that gave them a massive boost in terms of Net Run Rate.
India’s semi-final hopes were dealt a big blow with defeats to England and Australia in the second week of the tournament, the batting unit getting dismantled by the defending champions before the bowling unit failed to defend a challenging 278-run target against Meg Lanning and Co.
However, a 110-run win over Bangladesh has kept their chances of reaching the semi-finals very much alive.
27 March: vs South Africa
India face a stiff challenge in their final league game against South Africa, who have been remarkably consistent in this tournament. The Proteas won their first four games in a row before their winning run was brought to an end by the mighty Aussies. South Africa were off to a shaky start against West Indies before incessant rain forced the game to be called off, confirming their place in the knockouts.
South African all-rounder Marizanne Kapp has been one of the standout players this tournament, and has formed a formidable partnership with Ayabonga Khaka, both finding a spot in the top five wicket-takers in the tournament at the time of writing this article. And the pair will certainly back themselves to dismantle India’s collapse-prone batting order, which had crumbled against teams such as New Zealand and England.
How India can qualify:
Thanks to their Net Run Rate (+0.768), which is marginally less than that of England (+0.778), but well ahead of both West Indies (-0.885) and New Zealand (-0.229), Mithali Raj and Co find themselves in a favourable position as far as joining Australia and South Africa in the semis is concerned.
An outright victory over South Africa will certainly confirm their place in the semi-finals, as will the possibility of the game getting washed out.
However, England's victory over Bangladesh and a washout for India will certainly mean Mithali-led side will finish fourth in the table ahead of West Indies, and will be up against Australia in the semis. For them to face South Africa in the semis, India will have to watch England’s fixture against Bangladesh closely and ensure a victory by a bigger margin.
They can still pull through even if they lose to the Proteas, provided Bangladesh also pull off an upset victory over England and New Zealand either lose to Pakistan, or win but not with too big a margin.
Since the India-South Africa encounter is the final league game of the World Cup, the Women in Blue will have a fairly good idea of the numbers, including the ideal margin of victory that will help them finish third. All that remains is how well they execute on the day.
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