India most likely to face Bangladesh in WC quarters
Hamilton, March 9 (IANS) Bangladesh's 15-run win over England has more or less settled the question of who India will face in the quarterfinals.
With the win at the Adelaide Oval in a Pool A match, Bangladesh cleared the path for Sri Lanka to join New Zealand and Australia from their pool in the last eight. New Zealand are sitting pretty at the top with 10 points, while Bangladesh and Australia have seven points each.
Sri Lanka have six points, while fifth-placed England slumped to their fourth loss in five matches. They have two points, the same as Afghanistan.
India are on top of Pool B with eight points and they have a strong chance of finishing on top. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men are expected to beat Ireland and Zimbabwe and advance with full points from the six matches.
Second-placed South Africa have six points from five matches and even if India lose both the matches and the Proteas win one, the defending champions will be on top on better run rate. Third-placed Pakistan, who have six points with one match remaining, have a lower run rate as compared to India.
In the other pool, both the co-hosts are expected to win their final matches. New Zealand are heavy favourites against third-placed Bangladesh on March 13 and minnows Scotland have a tough task ahead against second-placed Australia.
Angelo Matthews-led Sri Lanka are favoured to prevail over Scotland on Wednesday. If the islanders lose and Bangladesh win, the former will remain fourth. But the chances of 1996 Cup champions Sri Lanka winning and Bangladesh losing are more considering the sides they will be up against.
In that case, likeliest Pool B toppers India will have to face a weaker side in Bangladesh. Even if Sri Lanka finish fourth, they are not the toughest of sides outside the sub-continent.
However, the quarter-finalists from the Pool A have not been confirmed. Second-placed South Africa will face the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday and they should not be a problem for the Africans.
The final place will most likely be decided on run rates as Ireland have six points from four matches and the West Indies have four points with one match remaining.
But Ireland will find it difficult to bag another two points as they will face powerhouses like India and Pakistan in their next matches. Two-time champions the West Indies will meet the UAE, who are no match for them.