Monday, 6 December 2021

India eliminate Bangladesh on way to booking semi-final place

File Photo

BIRMINGHAM: Bangladesh’s semifinal hopes at the Cricket World Cup have been vanquished after falling to a 28-run defeat to India in Birmingham.

Set 315 to win, Bangladesh fell just short, mustering 286 all out as India secured their spot in the semifinals, and eliminated their rivals.

If the Black Caps beat England in Chester-le-Street, they will be locked in to travelling to Birmingham, where they would either play India or Australia in the 2 v 3 semifinal.

If the Black Caps lose to England, then Pakistan would have to beat Bangladesh in their final game, while also improving their net run rate (-0.792) to a point where it surpasses New Zealand’s (0.572).

To emphasise how unlikely that is, such a turnaround would require the margins of victory in both games to be roughly 220 runs – so even if the Black Caps are thrashed by England, Pakistan would still need to produce a historic performance to knock New Zealand out of the semifinals.

Pakistan’s best hope would come in the form of the Black Caps tipping over England, leaving Pakistan free of net run rate concerns, and only needing to beat Bangladesh to jump England into the fourth and final semifinal spot. India, meanwhile, are set to finish in the top two, after holding off a late Bangladesh charge this morning. Rohit Sharma’s record-equalling fourth century of the World Cup led India to 314-9, with Sharma (104) and KL Rahul (77) adding 180 for the first wicket in just 29.2 overs.

However, some excellent late-innings bowling, led by seamer Mustafizur Rahman’s 5-59, pegged back what looked to be a total of 350+, giving Bangladesh a slim chance of keeping their semifinal hopes alive.

In response, Shakib Al Hasan continued his excellent tournament with 66, and while all of the Bangladeshi top order got starts, none could kick on, and when Shakib departed, Bangladesh were at 179-6, needing 136 runs in just 16 overs.

Some brief bluster from Mohammad Saifuddin (51 not out from 38 balls) and Sabbir Rahman (a run-a-ball 36) brought the equation down to 29 from 14 balls, but Jasprit Bumrah finished things off with two wickets in two balls, ending Bangladesh’s chances of making the semifinals.

India can still finish top of the table if they beat Sri Lanka in their final game, and Australia lose to South Africa. If Australia beat South Africa, they will be secured of top spot – and, potentially, a semifinal showdown with the Black Caps.

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