The 10 wicket loss to Pakistan, followed by a 8 wicket defeat at the hands of their traditional bogey team in ICC tournaments, the Kiwis, has meant that the Men in Blue are staring at a very early exit. They still have three matches left to play, but as things stand Pakistan are the big favourites of course to go through from Group 2 as table toppers, followed by either New Zealand or Afghanistan.
But India have not been mathematically eliminated just yet. It would of course take a miracle for India to go through to the next round from here, but the permutations and combinations are keeping them alive.
Shankar Raghuraman of TOI has done the math. Here’s a quick and straightforward look, in 7 points, at how the 2007 champions, India, can perhaps still make it to the semi-finals:
1) We start with the assumption that Pakistan, India and New Zealand have all beaten both Scotland and Namibia
2) If the above happens, Pakistan will top the group with 10 points and of course sail through to the semi-finals
3) The fight then boils down to three teams — India, New Zealand and Afghanistan for the one remaining slot
4) If India lose to Afghanistan, they will be out of the race. The winner of the New Zealand-Afghanistan game then becomes the second semi-finalist from Group 2.
5) If India beat Afghanistan, they will then eventually have 6 points. In that scenario, Afghanistan has to beat New Zealand for India to have a chance
6) If Afghanistan beat New Zealand and India beat Afghanistan, all three teams (India, NZ and Afghanistan) will be on 6 points
7) In that situation, it will boil down to NRR and India will need to win really big against the minnows (Namibia and Scotland) and hopefully Afghanistan too to have any chances of going through to the semi-finals.
But as things stand, Virat Kohli and his men are looking at a possible very early exit from the World Cup.