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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

T20 World Cup 2024: Group 1 equations shaken by Afghanistan’s stunning 21-run win over mighty Australia

After walloping a listless Bangladesh by 50 runs, India were almost assured of semi-final spot, but that status has changed and Group 1 has been thrown open all of a sudden

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 24.06.24, 10:59 AM
Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah AP/PTI

Afghanistan’s stunning 21-run win over mighty Australia at Kingstown in St Vincent on Sunday morning (Indian time) has breathed life into Group 1 of the Super Eight of the ongoing T20 World Cup.

Before the Afghan surprise, matches in Group 1 were running on a predictable track. After walloping a listless Bangladesh by 50 runs at North Sound in Antigua on Saturday, India were almost assured of a semi-final spot. But that status has changed and Group 1 has been thrown open all of a sudden.

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India are still not 100 per cent in the last-four stage of this T20 World Cup. They will be confirmed of a semi-final spot only if they beat Australia at Gros Islet in St Lucia
on Monday.

In that case, Australia will exit if the upbeat Afghans defeat Bangladesh at Kingstown on Tuesday (Indian time), which certainly is a big possibility given the recent performances of both sides.

If India lose to Australia, they may still qualify, thanks to a superior net run rate of +2.425. Of course, that’s not how Team India would want to reach the semis.

Besides, in terms of on-field results, India will be in a much better mindset than the Australians, who have to regroup fast after the shock they were subjected to by the Afghans. Australia’s batting, bowling and fielding have a lot of quality to put India to a tough test, but they must leap over the mental barriers first.

When cornered, the Australians tend to bring out their A-game. But against this Jasprit Bumrah-led bowling attack that hasn’t given much away to the opposition, the likes of Travis Head, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell have their task cut out.

For India, the middle order is in good shape with Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Shivam Dube being among runs. But it remains to be seen how openers Rohit and Virat Kohli fare against the Aussie bowlers, particularly their quicks.

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