U19 World Cup semi-final scenario: What do India, Pakistan and other teams need to reach the knockouts?

India is one of the few teams that has not lost a single match so far in the 2024 ICC Under-19 World Cup in South Africa. Image Credit: X/@cricketworldcup

It's been two weeks since the Under-19 World Cup began in South Africa, the Super Sixes are already underway, and the knockouts are just a few days away.

In the group stage, defending champions India and tournament hosts South Africa topped their respective groups along with former champions Australia and Pakistan. It also saw Nepal beat Afghanistan in a thriller to book a place in the Super Six – in which 12 teams divided into two pools compete for four semi-final spots.

The Super Six began on Tuesday, January 30, when the Uday Saharan-led Indian team defeated New Zealand by 214 runs to successfully retain their title and underline their position as strong favorites to win the tournament for a record sixth time.

Pakistan and West Indies will register wins by defeating Sri Lanka and Ireland respectively on the same day. Australia would then defeat Ashes rivals England the following day, with South Africa and Bangladesh also winning against neighbors Zimbabwe and Nepal respectively.

There have been six matches so far in the second round of the Under-19 World Cup, and six more matches are scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday, with the semi-finals starting on Tuesday, February 6. Teams like India, Pakistan and Australia have not lost a single game in the tournament so far, but no team has officially made it to the semi-finals yet.

As the conclusion of the tournament slowly approaches, we take a look at the teams that are still in the race for the knockouts:

Super Sixes, Group 1,

Both India and Pakistan, who faced each other in the final of the 2006 edition where the latter won a low-scoring thriller, are favorites to qualify for the semi-finals after not losing a single game so far.

India face Nepal on Friday, while Pakistan take on Bangladesh, and a win will help them seal their place in the last four, with the 'Colts in Blue' currently in their group given their superior net run rate. Favors being on top.

However, between Nepal and Bangladesh, only the latter have a real chance of making it to the knockouts as they find themselves in third place and a win over Pakistan could get them a top-two finish in Group 1. However, for that to happen, the 2020 Under-19 World Champions will have to defeat Pakistan to overtake them in the NRR.

Like Nepal and Ireland, New Zealand are also out, especially after their disastrous defeat against India, and are likely to be playing for pride in their final game against Ireland on Saturday.

Super Sixes, Group 2,

Three-time world champions Australia are currently favorites to top Group 2 and are in an unbeaten position like India and Pakistan. They further underlined their status as one of the favorites to challenge India for the title by beating England by 110 runs on Wednesday, and a win over West Indies on Friday should seal their place in the semi-finals.

However, if Australia loses, they will still remain in the race for a place in the semi-finals, but will then be dependent on the outcome of the match between South Africa and Sri Lanka – the country that originally hosted the tournament before the ICC suspended Sri Lanka. Was going to host the tournament. Lanka Cricket. Should the Proteas win that match, they would be level with Australia and West Indies on six points with NRR and would then decide which teams would advance to the next stage.

In any case, Australia currently have the best net run rate after India and unless they suffer defeats of huge proportions, they should be on the move.

Sri Lanka has very little chance of reaching the semi-finals. However, for that to happen, they will not only have to beat South Africa, but also hope that Australia beats the West Indies. This will lead to another three-way tie between the Proteas and Windies, this time with Sri Lanka on four points where the NRR will once again decide which team will finish second.

England can also qualify for the semi-finals as they have the same number of points as Sri Lanka, but their NRR could be a major cause for concern. They will have to beat Zimbabwe, who is out of contention, by a big margin on Saturday and hope other results also go their way.

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