What Australia and every other team needs to make final four

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The T20 World Cup Super 12 stage is down to the final few games and Australia’s chances of defending their title are hanging by a thread.

Their heavy loss to New Zealand in their first match, coupled with their MCG washout against England and the Poms beating the Kiwis on Tuesday night, means Australia are at long odds to progress from Group 1.

With one match left for each team, New Zealand, Australia and England are now tied on five points with Sri Lanka one adrift after avoiding any washouts and splitting their four results 2-2.

Group 2, with each team still having two matches to play, is also going down to the wire but barring an upset result, South Africa and India should be their two teams advancing to the semi-finals ahead of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

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The T20 World Cup semi-finals equation

Group 1

1. New Zealand (Five points, 2-1-1 record, NRR +2.233): The Black Caps have a superior net run rate of +2.233, largely due to their 89-run thumping of Australia at the SCG to kick off the Super 12 stage. They meet Ireland on Friday afternoon in the Adelaide Oval curtain-raiser. If they win, they’re in.

Jos Buttler of England hits the ball for a four.

Jos Buttler of England hits the ball for a four. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

2. England (Five points, 2-1-1 record, NRR +0.547): The victory over the Kiwis at the Gabba on Tuesday night has given England one foot in the door and they have the luxury of sitting back watching New Zealand and Australia play before their final group game against Sri Lanka on Saturday. If NZ win and the Aussies thump Afghanistan, England will know exactly what their equation will be when they step onto the SCG and can play accordingly. 

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3. Australia (Five points, 2-1-1 record, NRR -0.304): The equation is relatively simple – beat Afghanistan by the biggest margin in the quickest time possible to put the pressure on England against Sri Lanka. With injury clouds over Aaron Finch, Tim David and Marcus Stoinis, their chances of back-to-back World Cup trophies are looking slim. 

4. Sri Lanka (Four points, 2-2 record, NRR -0.457): They are a mathematical chance – they need Ireland or Australia to lose and then they’ll have to upset England. 

Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrates a wicket.

Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrates a wicket. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

5. Ireland (Three points, 1-2-1 record, NRR -1.544): It would take all the luck of the Irish for them to sneak into the semis. Basically they’d need to flog New Zealand enough to make up the net run rate between them, and then hope that Australia lose so they’d advance alongside the winner of England vs Sri Lanka. More important for the Irish is sneaking into the top four in the group which guarantees them automatic entry to the next World Cup in the US and Caribbean in 2024.

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6. Afghanistan (Two points, 0-2-2 record, NRR -0.718): It’s a shame that they’ve had a couple of washouts, particularly what would have been an historic first appearance at the MCG. They need to save face with a decent showing against Australia. 

Group 2

1. South Africa (Five points, 2-0-1 record, NRR +2.772): The Proteas all but booked their spot in the semis when they knocked over India in Perth on the weekend. They can seal it by beating Pakistan in Sydney on Thursday before taking on the Dutch in Adelaide on Sunday.

Quinton de Kock bats.

Quinton de Kock bats. (Photo by Steve Bell – ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

2. India (Four points, 2-1 record, NRR +0.844): Their campaign comes down to Wednesday night’s clash with Bangladesh in Adelaide. Assuming they win that one, a clash with Zimbabwe to finish should not cause too many problems.

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3. Bangladesh (Four points, 2-1 record, NRR -1.533): They should throw caution to the wind against the might of India. A sole win in 2019 is Bangladesh’s only T20 success over India. If they can slay the giants, they would then need to do likewise to Pakistan in Adelaide on Sunday to ensure an unlikely semi-final berth.

4. Zimbabwe (Three points, 1-1-1 record, NRR -0.05): They should remain in the hunt by accounting for the winless Dutch in Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon but would then need to cause a boilover against India on Sunday night in Melbourne. 

5. Pakistan (Two points, 1-2 record, NRR +0.765): If they held their nerve in the final over of their first two matches against India and Zimbabwe, they’d be at the top of the group. They now need to take down South Africa in Sydney on Thursday before beating Bangladesh and hoping a few other results go their way. 

6. Netherlands (Zero points, 0-3 record, NRR -1.948): They’ve been outclassed in all three matches and their only realistic chance of a win will come on Wednesday afternoon against Zimbabwe.

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