India, the only team to register four wins in the league stage in either groups, started with two straight victories, while Pakistan had the exact opposite, suffering two defeats in their first two games. India were already assured of the semis spot before their final league game, and the last league game was a virtual quarter-final for Pakistan.
India needed a win in the final game to secure top spot in the group, while Pakistan needed a lot of other results going in their favour to reach where they are now. As India await their semis against England in Adelaide on Thursday, and Pakistan theirs against New Zealand in Sydney on Wednesday, let’s track down the journey the two teams took to progress into the knockout stage.
India’s road to semis
Game 1: Oct 23 — Pakistan vs India at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
A ‘blockbuster’ contest opened India’s campaign in Australia as they registered a thrilling 4-wicket victory over arch-rivals Pakistan. India invited Pakistan to bat first, and the latter posted a competitive 159/8 in 20 overs riding on half-centuries from Shan Masood (52* off 42) and Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 34). Then India were reduced to 31/4 in 6.1 overs after some excellent bowling from Haris Rauf (2/36) and Naseem Shah (1/23), before Virat Kohli (82* off 53) played an innings to remember. Kohli along with Hardik Pandya (40 off 37) took India home in a last-ball thriller.
Result: India (160/6) beat Pakistan (159/8) by 4 wickets | INDIA – 2 points
Game 2: Oct 27 — India vs Netherlands at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
After a thrilling win against Pakistan, India registered a commanding 56 runs victory over the Netherlands to make it two in two in the tournament. India opted to bat first and posted a challenging 179/2 with skipper Rohit Sharma (53 off 39), Virat Kohli (62* off 44) and Suryakumar Yadav (51* off 25) hitting fifties in Sydney. Netherlands were never in the chase from the beginning, losing wickets at regular intervals and managed to post 123/9 in their allotted 20 overs. The big win gave India not only two points but a boost to their net run rate (NRR).
Result: India (179/2) beat Netherlands (123/9) by 56 runs | INDIA – 4 points
Game 3: Oct 30 — India vs South Africa at Perth Stadium, Perth
India’s batting might get a reality check against a potent South African attack on a pacy Perth pitch in their third group game. India opted to bat again, but this time Lungi Ngidi (4/29) and Wayne Parnell (3/15) wreaked havoc. It was Suryakumar Yadav’s gallant 68 off 40 balls that took them to a below par 133/9 in 20 overs. But it was not enough in the end as South Africa chased down the target with 5 wickets in hand and two balls to spare. David Miller (59* off 46) and Aiden Markram (52 off 41) scored match-winning fifties for the Proteas.
Result: South Africa (137/5) beat India (133/9) by 5 wickets | INDIA – 4 points
Game 4: Nov 02 — India vs Bangladesh at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
After the loss to South Africa, India needed a win against Bangladesh to boost their semi-finals chances and they achieved it with some help from the rain. Invited to bat first, India posted a challenging 184/6 with Virat Kohli (64* off 44) and KL Rahul (50* off 32) hitting quick fifties. Litton Das (60 off 27) then gave India a big scare before rain interrupted the contest in Adelaide. The chase was reduced to 151 in 16 overs, and Bangladesh fell short by 5 runs (DLS) at the end, giving all two points to India.
Result: India beat Bangladesh by 5 runs (DLS) | INDIA – 6 points
Game 5: Nov 06 — India vs Zimbabwe at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
India were already assured of a semi-final spot when they took the field against Zimbabwe in their last group game in Melbourne. But the position of the standings were not determined yet as Pakistan jumped to top of the table with a win against Bangladesh. In the end it turned out to be a comfortable 71 runs victory for India as they topped the group with 8 points and set up a semi-final date with England. Batting first, Suryakumar Yadav (61* off 25) and KL Rahul (51 off 35) powered India to 186/5, before they bowled out Zimbabwe for 115 in 17.2 overs.
Result: India (186/5) beat Zimbabwe (115) by 71 runs | INDIA – 8 points
Pakistan’s road to semis
Game 1: Oct 23 — Pakistan vs India at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Pakistan made an emotional start to their campaign after losing to arch-rivals India in a thrilling encounter in Melbourne. Sent in to bat, Pakistan set a competitive 160-run target for India with the help of half-centuries from Shad Masood (52* off 42) and Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 34). They looked in control when India were stuttering at 31/4 in the 7th over, before Virat Kohli (82* off 53) and Hardik Pandya (40 off 37) put on a match-winning 113 runs for the fifth wicket. Pakistan lost the last-ball thriller by 4 wickets.
Result: India (160/6) beat Pakistan (159/8) by 4 wickets | PAKISTAN – 0 points
Game 2: Oct 27 — Zimbabwe vs Pakistan at Perth Stadium, Perth
A day after Ireland stunned England, Pakistan suffered a big upset in the Super 12 stage when they lost by 1 run to Zimbabwe in Perth. Pakistan were in all sorts of trouble after two straight defeats. Zimbabwe opted to bat, but were restricted to 130/8 with Mohammad Wasin Jr taking 4 for 24 for Pakistan. The chase was never in control for Pakistan as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals and finally fell short by just 1 run, managing 129/8 in 20 overs. Sikandar Raza (3/25) and Brad Evans (2/25) shone for Zimbabwe with the balls.
Result: Zimbabwe (130/8) beat Zimbabwe (129/8) by 1 run | PAKISTAN – 0 points
Game 3: Oct 30 — Netherlands vs Pakistan at Perth Stadium, Perth
Pakistan put their campaign back on track with a comprehensive six-wicket win against the Netherlands. The victory opened Pakistan’s account in the Group 2 standings. Netherlands opted to bat on a pacy Perth pitch and were restricted to a low 91/9 in 20 overs. Mohammad Rizwan (49 off 39) top-scored for Pakistan as they chased down the target in just 13.5 overs with six wickets in hand. The big win boosted their NRR too.
Result: Pakistan (95/4) beat Netherlands (91/9) by 6 wickets | PAKISTAN – 2 points
Game 4: Nov 03 — Pakistan vs South Africa at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
In another do-or-die game, Pakistan got the better of South Africa to keep alive their slim hopes in the tournament. After opting to bat first, Shadab Khan (52 off 22) and Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 35) smacked quick-fire fifties to take the team to 185/9 in 20 overs. South Africa were 69/4 after 9 overs when rain stopped the proceedings in Sydney, and when the play resumed the target was revised to 142 in 14 overs, leaving the Proteas to score 73 off 30 balls. Pakistan stopped South Africa to 108/9 in 14 overs to register a 33-run win.
Result: Pakistan beat South Africa by 33 runs (DLS) | PAKISTAN – 4 points.
Game 5: Nov 06 — Bangladesh vs Pakistan at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
On the final day of the league stage, the tournament witnessed arguably the biggest upset so far when Netherlands stunned South Africa to keep both Pakistan and Bangladesh alive in the semi-final race. The result also secured a semis spot for India, while making the game between Bangladesh and Pakistan a virtual quarterfinal. Batting first, Bangladesh were restricted to 127/8 despite their opener Najmul Shanto (54 off 48) hitting a fifty. Shaheen Afridi took 4 for 22 to lead the Pakistan attack. With the semis spot in line, Pakistan completed the chase with 11 balls to spare and 5 wickets in hand. The victory took Pakistan to the last four stage – an unlikely outcome after their two successive defeats in the first two games.
Result: Pakistan (128/5) beat Bangladesh (127/8) by 5 wickets | PAKISTAN – 6 points