T20 World Champions Australia Knocked Out; England Sneak Into Semis, May Face India

Sydney: England huffed and puffed their way into the T20 World Cup semifinals with a nervy 4-wicket win over Sri Lanka here on Saturday.

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The result not only ensured a last-four berth for pre-tournament favourites England, it also knocked hosts and defending champions out of the World Cup.

With three teams ending on 7 points each in Super 12 Group 1, it went down to the net run-rate (NRR). New Zealand emerged group toppers with a NRR of 2.113, while England ( ) pipped Australia (-0.173) to the second spot.

Chasing a modest target of 142 in a must-win game, England raced to 70 for no loss in 6 overs. From 82/1 in 9 overs, England lost a flurry of wickets in a rush before Ben Stokes guided them over the line with only two balls to spare.

The semifinalists from Group 2 will be decided on Sunday, when India face Zimbabwe, Pakistan confront Bangladesh and South Africa are up against the Netherlands.

India’s Day Of Reckoning

India (6 points) and South Africa (5) are favourites to make the semifinals as they are expected to beat Zimbabwe and Netherlands, respectively.

India will be back at Melbourne, where they kicked off their campaign with that incredible last-ball win against Pakistan a fortnight back.

Zimbabwe are not in the reckoning for a semifinal berth, even if they win tomorrow. They upset Pakistan by 1 run, but the loss against minnows Netherlands hurt them. Zimbabwe will be looking to sign off with a bang, but the men in blue seem to be too strong for them on paper and in performance.

In case the match is washed out and the teams share points, India will finish with 7 and still qualify –as Group 2 toppers.

Pakistan will come into the picture only if they beat Bangladesh and India lose to Zimbabwe.

So unless Team India have their worst day in office, they should set up a semifinal battle with England at Adelaide.

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