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South Africa-Australia quarterfinal on cards in case of washout; India's route to final could be made easier

Australia face Scotland in the last group fixture in Pool A tomorrow at 9:00 am(IST), with the forecast at Hobart suggesting rainfall – thus bringing in the possibility of a South Africa-Australia clash as early in the World Cup as in the quarter finals.

Rain lashes the Bellerive Oval, Hobart

Australia are set to face Scotland in the last group fixture in Pool A tomorrow at 9:00 am (IST), with the forecast at Hobart suggesting rainfall – thus bringing in the possibility of a South Africa-Australia clash as early in the World Cup as in the quarterfinal stage.

The co-hosts have already had one group fixture washed out, and are currently on third spot in Pool A, with one point less than Sri Lanka and tomorrow’s game in hand. If Australia are doomed to share points with seventh-placed Scotland, they will finish with as many points as Sri Lanka and a better net run rate – but more crucially, with one less win than the Asian nation.

According to 21.10 of ICC’s rule book for the 2015 World Cup, this will mean that Australia finish third in Pool A and meet South Africa, who have sealed the second spot in Pool B, in the quarterfinals.

‘In the event of teams finishing on equal points in its Pool’, the rule says, ‘the right to play in the quarterfinals will be decided in the following order of priority:

1. The team with the most wins in the Pool matches will be placed in the higher position.

2. If there are teams with equal points and equal wins in the Pool matches then in such case the team with the higher net run rate in the Pool matches will be placed in the higher position (refer to 21.10.5 for the calculation of net run rate).’

Weather reports from Hobart say that there are high (80%) chances of showers, most likely in the afternoon and early evening – which are ill tidings for the day/night encounter. A washout, in the circumstances, will be the same as a defeat for Australia.

India’s route to the final

Australia finishing third in Pool A will mean that Pool B toppers India will not have to face either of the host nations Australia or New Zealand or pre-tournament favourites South Africa till the final match.

The defending champions face Bangladesh on 19 March at the MCG in their quarterfinal clash. The winner of that match will face the winner of the quarterfinal match between the second-placed team in Pool A (Sri Lanka, in case of a washout tomorrow) and the 3rd-placed team in Pool B (Pakistan or Ireland) in the semi-final.

This is contradictory to what is suggested by the fixtures listed on most websites, but stands to reason on closer scrutiny of the ICC rule-book. The ICC rules say that the quarterfinal line-up will take shape as follows:

QF1: A1 vs B4

QF2: A2 vs B3

QF3: A3 vs B2

QF4: A4 vs B1

India would thus be slotted into QF4, irrespective of the fact that they would play the second quarterfinal chronologically. In the semis, therefore, they would face the winners of QF2, which in the scenario assumed above, would be either Sri Lanka, Pakistan, or Ireland.

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