T20 World Cup 2021: Team India living on a wing and a prayer

India, the favourite-turned-outsider, will be gunning for Afghanistan against New Zealand.

Virat Kohli looks on during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Scotland in Dubai.   -  Getty Images

The fate of the Group of Death (Group 1) of the ICC T20 World Cup was sealed on Saturday. However, due to some surprising results, Group 2 still searches for its second qualifier (Pakistan the first) heading into the last two days of the Super 12 stage.

England and Australia qualified for the semifinals from Group 1, pipping South Africa on Net Run Rate after all three finished with eight points.

In the other group, three teams — at least technically — are in contention for the final berth. Babar’s men are set to top the table in Group 2.

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While two of these three teams — New Zealand and Afghanistan — will be up against each other, India, the favourite-turned-outsider, will be rooting for Afghanistan sitting in its swanky resort here.

Having been demolished by the two main contenders in the group (Pakistan and New Zealand), Kohli’s team got back on track.

India did everything possible in its last two games to stay alive. It revived its fortunes in Abu Dhabi with a run feast against Afghanistan that saw the openers come good and the big-hitters get time in the middle to display their prowess.

The Men in Blue then celebrated captain Virat Kohli’s birthday by dismantling Scotland for 85 and blitzing past the target off just 39 balls.

The mauling helped India better New Zealand and Afghanistan’s NRR, a factor that could be decisive should the Kiwis succumb to the Afghans.

No wonder Jadeja, at the end of the post-match press conference, was matter of fact when asked what India will do if the Black Caps win on Sunday. “We will pack our bags and go home, what else?” Jadeja said.

If India’s campaign ends even before its last game on Monday, it will have no one else to blame.

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