Mohali: India’s nail-biting last-ball win over Bangladesh on Wednesday in Bangalore has made the next two matches here at the PCA Stadium here very significant.
The last hurrah? Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi during a net session at the PCA Stadium Mohali yesterday. Pic/ PTI
With India, Australia and Pakistan all eyeing the second semi-final spot from Group 2, with New Zealand occupying the first with three wins out of three, all eyes will be on net run-rates now.
A win today for Pakistan against Australia will do a lot of good to their chances of qualifying for the semi. Pakistan, who have a better net run-rate (+0.254) than India (-0.546), will then hope Australia beat India on Sunday which means Shahid Afridi & Co can progress to the semis via better net run-rate.
However, if Australia wins, it will be curtains for Pakistan and the last Super 10 league match between the Aussies and the Indians will be a knockout, with the winner making the semis. Any slip-up now from any of the three teams could prove costly, but Australia skipper Steve Smith prefers to keep it simple — win the next two matches and leave the rest to the statisticians. “We are playing in a World Cup, so there’s always pressure there. That (India’s win) made the equation pretty simple for us. We have to win our next two games — as simple as that. We are playing two quality oppositions in Pakistan and India. So yeah, we have to be better than what we have been this far,” Smith said on the eve of the clash.
Meanwhile, Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik tried to water down coach Waqar Younis’ recent comments. After Pakistan’s shoddy batting display against New Zealand, Younis had said that the way they’re playing, Afridi’s side do not deserve to go through to the semis.
Malik insisted winning is all that matters now. “When you lose, you’re disappointed. In the heat of the moment, even wise people can say or do unwise things. I’m sure Waqar didn’t mean to say that. We are professionals. We have to give 100 per cent. This is our opportunity. This is a big event. Our first goal is to win tomorrow,” said Malik.