The 8th edition of the T20 World Cup in Australia has to be one of the most unpredictable in its brief history. In the Round 1 and the Super 12 stage, we witnessed some of the greatest upsets in tournament history. We saw Namibia, an associate team coasting past former champions Sri Lanka, while Scotland did the same against West Indies. However, both Namibia nor Scotland couldn’t progress to the Super 12 stage.
But the 2 other low-key teams which played an excellent brand of fearless and inspirational cricket right through round 1 and continuing the same in Super 12 are Zimbabwe and Ireland. Both these sides have fought with everything they have thus and have given a great account of themselves in this T20 World Cup down under.
The Irish team steamrolled the much fancied West Indies team in a one-sided Round 1 contest to enter the Super 12 stage, wherein they created a monumental upset by beating the inform England side by 5 runs through the DLS method. But the washout game against Afghanistan has made it tough for Ireland to have a crack at the Semifinals. They may or may not make the Semifinal stage, but they are one of the reasons why Group 1 is still wide open.
How can Ireland progress to the Semifinal stage?
Ireland doesn’t have much chance to make it to the last 4, especially because they have to face Australia and New Zealand in their last 2 Super 12 games at the Gabba and Adelaide, respectively. The Kiwis are proving to be the team to beat in this tournament, having defeated both Australia and Sri Lanka in dominating fashion. And the Aussies, though lost against New Zealand, made it up with an easy crushing win over the Lankan lions.
So it will be a Himalayan task for the Ireland team to beat the 2 giants of this World cup to move to the Semifinal. They also need New Zealand to win their game against England.
Zimbabwe’s dream run in this T20 World Cup
The fighting spirit shown by this Zimbabwean side led by Sean Ervine has been heartening to see. After a convincing win over Ireland in their opening game of Round 1, Zimbabwe lost to West Indies before winning an important clash against Scotland to progress to the Super 12 stage.
Fortune favours the brave, they say, and it came true in the case of Zimbabwe. In their first Super 12 game against South Africa, the men in red were well and truly out of the contest, but the weather intervened, and the minimum requirement of 5 overs to complete a game couldn’t be done. This meant both teams got one point, and Zimbabwe added joy to their memorable campaign by eclipsing the Pakistan team by 1 run in a thriller at Perth. Zimbabwe now stands in 3rd position in Group 2 with 3 points from 2 games.
How can Zimbabwe progress to the Semifinal?
Unlike Ireland, Zimbabwe has a more than decent chance of qualifying for the semifinal stage. They must win at least 2 of the remaining 3 fixtures against Bangladesh, Netherlands, and Inda. While in current form, Zimbabwe is expected to beat Netherlands and Bangladesh, they might find it tough against India, which is their last Super 12 game.
Apart from reaching at least 7 points to stake a claim for the Semifinals spot in the T20 World Cup, they need several results in their favour. South Africa, with a win, currently has 3 points, but their net run rate is massive, and Zimbabwe’s chances will get bright if the Proteas lose to either India or Pakistan by huge margins or to both.
This will be a huge moment in the T20 World Cup history if either Zimbabwe or Ireland manage to reach the last 4. The unpredictability of this World Cup has made the event much more exciting, barring the forced abandonment because of rain.
An avid Cricket follower who likes to write on the gentleman’s game