The qualification permutations in Group 2 are beginning to take shape as the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 rapidly approaches its knockout stage.
But no team is yet confirmed as through to the final four, with plenty left to play for in the Super 12 group. We take a look at the state of play as things stand.
It would take more than one against-the-odds result to prevent India and South Africa from being the two teams to qualify from Group 2 and into the semi-finals of the tournament.
India’s narrow and nail-biting win over Bangladesh has sent them top on six points from four games, but they could still be caught if results go against them and they are beaten by Zimbabwe in their final match.
South Africa can officially confirm their spot in the top two with a win over Pakistan on Thursday. But should they lose that match then the group will go down to the final round of games.
India will not technically be through until the final round of matches, with Rohit Sharma’s side playing the last game in the group.
If results had gone differently then the timing of that Zimbabwe fixture would have given India an edge in terms of knowing what they needed on net run rate (as is the scenario in Group 1).
But as things stand India may already be qualified if other results in the group go their way.
Should South Africa beat Pakistan and then Pakistan beat Bangladesh, nobody can replace India in the top two.
And even if results go against India, leaving them outside of the qualification spaces at the start of that match against Zimbabwe, a win would certainly send them into the semis – nobody other than South Africa can reach the eight points that a win in that game would give India.
The chances of a Pakistan appearance in the semi-finals are dwindling by the day, but Babar Azam and his side are still not mathematically out of the running.
First, they simply must beat South Africa on Thursday. Fail to win that match and their qualification hopes are done.
If Pakistan do win against the Proteas then they will need another victory in their fifth and final match against Bangladesh, preferably by a decent margin to give them a strong final NRR just in case that is a deciding factor.
And then Pakistan would require assistance.
In those circumstances they could finish above India should there be a shock Zimbabwe win in the final group match.
Or they could finish above South Africa if either the Dutch do them a favour with an upset in that game, or if rain prevents a result and Pakistan have managed to overtake the Proteas on NRR.
So it’s unlikely, but not impossible at this stage. But any sliver of hope hangs on the result of that huge game in Sydney on Thursday.
The win for Netherlands over Zimbabwe on Wednesday has effectively ruled them out of contention for an unlikely top two finish.
Had Sikandar Raza inspired his team to victory over the Dutch – and he did his best with limited assistance – then there could have been a chance for Zimbabwe to spring one of the biggest surprises in the history of the tournament.
Pakistan v South Africa – 3 November
This could be the game that decides the group.
A win for South Africa in Sydney would see them become the first team mathematically confirmed as through to the semi-finals.
But victory for Pakistan would keep them in the hunt for a top-two finish, albeit with qualification still out of their hands after those two early losses.
3 November: Pakistan v South Africa, SCG, Sydney
6 November: South Africa v Netherlands, Adelaide Oval
6 November: Pakistan v Bangladesh, Adelaide Oval
6 November: Zimbabwe v India, MCG, Melbourne