After an agonising loss against Pakistan on Friday, India are now left with only a mathematical chance to make the Asia Cup final.
After beginning the tournament on a promising note with a six-wicket win over tournament hosts Bangladesh, India lost two close games to Sri Lanka (by 2 wickets) and Pakistan (by one wicket).
But it was Afridi's 18 ball 34* in Pakistan's win that has brought India to the exit door of the Asia Cup, and their fortune now hinges on a bonus- point win against Afghanistan and the results of the four remaining league matches.
India will have to earn five points, including a bonus point, against Afghanistan on Wednesday and hope Sri Lanka lose both their remaining matches against Afghanistan on Monday and against Bangladesh on Thursday. That will help India to 9 points and leapfrog the Lankans who will end with 8 points.
In case India earn only four points against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka go on to lose both their games, then the net run rate will come into play as both the teams will end up with eight points each.
Afghanistan have played well, but Sri Lanka have beaten both Asian powerhouses Pakistan and India, which makes it highly unlikely that they will lose to the Afghans, who upset Bangladesh for their first win over a Test nation.
Pakistan are currently on nine points with a match left against Bangladesh. If they go on to lose to Bangladesh and India beat Afghanistan by a bonus point, then both India and Pakistan will end up with nine points each, which will again being net run rate into play.
Though Bangladesh have the worst net run rate at this point with two consecutive defeats, they still have two games left in hand. That means theoretically they can still earn 10 points (including two bonus points) to disturb all calculations.
If Afghanistan, who currently have four points with two games to play, go on to score another upset win, then they too will be in the running to reach the final.
PS: For India, the only objective left is to beat Afghanistan by a bonus point and hope one of the above scenarios works in their favour.
More from this Section
May 20, 2015, 5:06 pm IST
May 20, 2015, 4:32 pm IST
May 20, 2015, 12:50 pm IST
May 20, 2015, 11:05 am IST