Shane Watson in action against Kenya © Getty Images
Shane Watson in action against Kenya © Getty Images

 

By Suneer Chowdhary

 

As the 2011 World Cup meanders towards the end of the pre-knock-out stage, two questions are uppermost in everybody’s mind:

 

1. Which would be the four teams from each group to qualify?

 

2. How would the four teams finish the qualifiers which will then determine the quarter-final line-up?Here is a lowdown of the various scenarios that could take place in both the groups.Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Pakistan will make it to the quarter-finals from Group A. But what’s not yet known is the order of the final standing.

 

Assuming that despite Canada’s recent improvements against Pakistan and New Zealand, Australia will beat the North American side, there are two relevant games which will decide the fate of the teams in the Group A: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka and Australia vs Pakistan. There is a third game, Kenya vs Zimbabwe, which is inconsequential.

 

Australia will have 9 if they expectedly beat Canada in Wednesday’s game. New Zealand and Pakistan have 8 points each while Sri Lanka have 7.In which case, there are four different possibilities that one is staring at in the group.

 

1. New Zealand beat Sri Lanka and Australia beat Pakistan
In this case, Australia will end with 11, New Zealand with 10 points, Pakistan will have 8 and Sri Lanka will have 7

 

2. New Zealand beat Sri Lanka and Pakistan beat Australia
New Zealand will have 10, Pakistan will have 10, Australia end on 9 and Sri Lanka on 7

 

3. Sri Lanka beat New Zealand and Australia beat Pakistan
Australia – 11, Sri Lanka – 9, New Zealand – 8, Pakistan – 8,
4. Sri Lanka beat New Zealand and Pakistan beat Australia
Pakistan – 10, Sri Lanka – 9, Australia – 9, New Zealand – 8

 

The above scenarios say that it is still as difficult to predict which team will end where in the Group A. However, here is a list of the certain trends emerging:a.

 

Irrespective of whatever happens in that group, Australia cannot finish fourth. This is a good indicator to the fact that they will not face the team topping Group B.

 

b. Australia cannot end on the second position either.

 

c. Similarly, Sri Lanka cannot top the group either and so, will not be facing the team finishing in the fourth position.

 

d. Sri Lanka cannot end at the third position either.

 

e. If Australia wins their game against Pakistan, they will end at the top irrespective of the other result.

 

f. If Sri Lanka loses their game, they will end fourth irrespective of the other result.

 

g. There are two scenarios which will bring the net run-rate into the equation for New Zealand and Pakistan; the first and the third one above, and given that currently New Zealand have an NRR of 1.97 whereas Pakistan are at 0.73, difficult to see Pakistan overtake New Zealand.

 

h. There is one scenario which will bring the net run-rate into the equation for Sri Lanka and Australia, the fourth one. Again, Sri Lanka is quite ahead of Australia with an NRR of 2.7 as compared to their 1.65. Sri Lanka will pip them to the second position in this scenario.

 

NB: Group B has three relevant games which give rise to eight possible scenarios. That will follow in a separate piece.

 

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)