India stays in the hunt for semi final with big win over Afghanistan

India’s net run rate was -1.609 before the match against Afghanistan; it has since risen to 0.073, while Afghanistan’s has declined from 3.097 to 1.481. India’s NRR will rise to 1.303 if they win their final two games, against Scotland and Namibia, by a combined margin of 120 runs (scoring 180). Only if Afghanistan beats New Zealand by at least 12 runs will their rate remain higher than India’s (after scoring 150). Meanwhile, New Zealand will be trying to beat Namibia and improve their NRR before facing Afghanistan in their last match.

If India defeats Scotland and New Zealand loses one of their final two matches, India will face Namibia with everything on the line. India has the advantage of playing the final game of the group, so they’ll know exactly what they need to do to qualify. New Zealand won by two points against Scotland, although the margin of victory was narrower than they had planned, hence their NRR only increased from 0.765 to 0.816. Their NRR will be 1.391 if they bat first, score 180, and beat Namibia by 60 runs. Even a one-run loss against Afghanistan (chasing 150) will drop their rate to 1.094.

With strong wins in their last two games, India can surpass that NRR (as mentioned above). If New Zealand wins its final two games and finishes on eight points, they can avoid the NRR debate. Their schedule, though, is demanding: after today’s game in Dubai, they fly to Sharjah on Friday to play Namibia, and then play Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. In the meantime, Afghanistan has played its last two matches in Abu Dhabi and will have a three-day break before facing New Zealand at the same site.

After that 66-run loss to India, Afghanistan’s NRR took a beating. As a result, not only do they need to beat New Zealand, but they may also need to do it by a particular margin in order to account for India’s massive triumph over Namibia the next day. Afghanistan will need a 12-run victory margin against New Zealand to stay ahead of India if India wins their last two games by a combined margin of 120 runs (assuming first-innings scores of 180 for India and 150 for Afghanistan).

By Sunday, they would have a better understanding of the NRR position, since both India and New Zealand would have played another game on Friday.