Australia's big defeat to New Zealand in the T20 World Cup tournament opener meant they were perhaps just one more slip-up away from a group-stage exit.
Australia's net-run-rate (NRR) took such a hammering after the 89-run defeat that even a big win against Sri Lanka in Perth the other night could only push Australia's NRR as far as -1.555, the lowest of the five teams to have won a game in their group so far.
However, England's shock defeat, via DLS, against Ireland at the G on Thursday has thrown Group 1 wide open, and put the focus firmly on Friday's night clash between Ashes rivals Australia and England. Barring further surprises, the World Cup hopes of whoever loses the match will likely be over.
Australia needs to beat England, Ireland and Afghanistan in its remaining three matches to advance to the semifinals. The abandonment of the New Zealand-Afghanistan match due to rain also gives Australia a slight edge. That said, if Sri Lanka or Ireland were to win all their remaining games, the dynamics of the group would change significantly.
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The make-up of Group 1 will be far clearer by the end of New Zealand’s fixture against Sri Lanka on Saturday. With its point from the rained-out Afghanistan fixture, and that superior Net RR (+4.450), another win for New Zealand would put them in control of the group.
The weather will continue to be a major factor in this tournament, with more washouts a possibility.