Who will make the Champions Trophy semi-finals?

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    As Australia prepare to take on England for their must-win match today, let’s look at the permutations and combinations for the teams.

    Which four teams will make it to the semi-finals next week? Australia is in Group A with England, New Zealand and Bangladesh. South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are in Group B.

    It’s puzzling. After nine days of rivalries in Groups A and B, only England has qualified. But none of the other teams is out of the competition as I write this on Friday.

    Rain affected Australia in different ways. They were lucky to escape defeat against New Zealand but were unlucky not to beat Bangladesh. So call it even Stevens.

    Group A
    A win over England will put Australia straight into the semi-finals. Bangladesh’s victory over New Zealand last night means they will make it in should Australia stumble.

    Group B
    What a topsy-turvy turn around for the teams in Group B so far! Look at this: India beat Pakistan who beat South Africa who had earlier beaten Sri Lanka who defeated India. A full cycle.

    All four teams have won one match and lost one with India having the highest Net Run Rate (NRR) of +1.272 and South Africa second with +1.000. Sri Lanka is slightly ahead of Pakistan but both have negative NRRs.

    But the way Sri Lanka chased India’s massive total of 6-321, they stand a fair chance in case they beat Pakistan on Monday and South Africa or India lose by a big margin in their match on Sunday.

    The India-Sri Lanka match on Thursday was fascinating with a surprise ending. Indian batsmen excelled to total 6-321 after their openers Shikhar Dhawan (125 from 128 balls with 15 fours and a six) and Rohit Sharma (78 off 79 balls with 6 fours and three sixes) put on 138 runs in 24.5 overs.

    Then MS Dhoni smashed 63 runs off 52 balls with seven fours and two sixes.

    When Sri Lanka lost their first wicket at 11, a big win for India appeared likely. Then Kusal Mendis joined left-handed master hitter Danushka Gunathilaka and put on 159 magnificent runs in 23.1 overs.

    Mendis smacked 89 runs off 93 balls with 11 crisp fours and Gunathilaka 76 off 72 deliveries belting 7 fours and 2 sixes. Both were run out through brilliant throws by the Indians.

    The match was in balance then but intelligent batting by skipper Angelo Mathews (unbeaten 52 off 45 balls with six fours) and Kusal Perera (47 retired hurt in 44 balls with five fours) took Sri Lanka to a memorable victory.

    The gallant Lankans won by seven wickets with eight balls remaining and Mendis named man of the match.

    A win target of 322 runs is their joint largest in ODIs. They had chased down the same target against England at Headingley in 2006. In winning this match, Sri Lanka also completed their ninth successful 300-plus chase away from home, a record. India is second with eight.

    After the match an elated skipper Angelo Matthews said:

    “It’s one of the top wins, to beat India. It was a fantastic wicket. The bowlers did brilliantly to restrict India to 321. It’s a very chaseable target. I tried to hit as many balls in the nets as possible, it makes you feel good and that helped me come back from injury.

    “Wasn’t easy for Gunathilaka to walk into the side and bat like how he did. Kusal [Mendis] is a great player and Kusal Perera also batted really well. Those partnerships were crucial. It’s a must-win game for all of us in the group.

    “Not many people expected us to win and that took a lot of pressure off us. Turning point? I thought the second-wicket partnership. They set us the platform.”

    Now let me be a Nostradamus and predict the semi-finalists. England will meet South Africa or Sri Lanka in one semi-final. And Australia will lock horns with India as Steve Smith and Virat Kohli resume their verbal rivalry.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (14)

    • June 10th 2017 @ 11:50am
      David a Pom said | June 10th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

      “England will meet SA or SL”. You’re not being Nostradamus by not being bold enough to pick exactly 4 teams. And you do realise that both India and South Africa can’t go through, right? Ind-SA and SL-Pak are both knockouts. Weak article.

      • June 10th 2017 @ 2:23pm
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | June 10th 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

        David a Pom, As Nostradamus was BC (Before Cricket) his cricketing knowledge is poor. Also old age has made him dithering.
        He maybe weak but not the article.
        If SA beats England and India beats Aus, then both teams from Group B CAN make it to the Final. Theoretically, both teams from Group A can also make it to the Final. Howzatt?
        Is my response STRONG enough for you?

        • June 10th 2017 @ 3:08pm
          David a Pom said | June 10th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

          I’m clearly talking about your semi final prediction in your final paragraph. Both India and SA cannot go through to the semis, how hard is it for you to grasp this?

          • June 10th 2017 @ 3:28pm
            Kersi Meher-Homji said | June 10th 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

            I see what you mean, David a Pom.
            But there is a faint possibility. In case rain interrupts both SA-Ind and the Pak-SL matches, all four will finish with 3 points each. On basis of higher NRRs, SA and Ind can still finish on top of Gr B.

            • June 10th 2017 @ 3:36pm
              David a Pom said | June 10th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

              Noted. But highly unlikely.

              • June 10th 2017 @ 3:55pm
                Kersi Meher-Homji said | June 10th 2017 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

                Agree, David. But didn’t both matches involving Australia rain-ruined? That was just as unlikely.

              • Columnist

                June 10th 2017 @ 7:12pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | June 10th 2017 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

                David you just got owned. Back to your troll cave.

    • Roar Pro

      June 10th 2017 @ 12:30pm
      Rafiqul Ameer said | June 10th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report


    • June 10th 2017 @ 2:51pm
      Naresh Kumar Sharma said | June 10th 2017 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

      One of the two- South Africa and India will progress to semi-finals.

    • June 10th 2017 @ 4:15pm
      Rajesh Kumar said | June 10th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

      Dear Kersi,

      Splendid piece.

      Warm regards.


    • June 10th 2017 @ 4:48pm
      I don't like cricket said | June 10th 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

      Where are the Roar articles on Bangladesh’s magnificent win over NZ? A record 224 run partnership after being 4 for 33 and not a mention from roar cricket fans. Still in disbelief I guess!

    • June 10th 2017 @ 5:26pm
      Republican said | June 10th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

      ………Wonderful win by Bangladesh and that they did it v NZ makes this win so much more delectable………

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