Sydney, Feb 25: India have to win their remaining two matches to have a smooth passage to the tri-series final. However, if the MS Dhoni-led side lose against Australia on Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), they still can make the finals.
In the preliminary stages, each team plays eight games each before the top two contest the three finals from March 4, in Brisbane. At the moment, Sri Lanka (15 points), Australia (14) and India (10) have played six games apiece.
Here are the scenarios on how India can reach the best-of-three finals.
Scenario 1: Win both games
Straight and simple. Wins in both games will take India's tally to 18. That is without bonus point. If they win with bonus points then they will have 20. That will easily put them into the finals. Then Australia-Sri Lanka game on Tuesday will be a semi-final clash. The winner will face India in the best-of-three finals from March 4, starting in Brisbane.
Scenario 2: If India lose on Sunday and win on Tuesday, then Australia have to beat Sri Lanka on March 2
In a situation where India lose their match on Sunday against the hosts at SCG, they can still make the finals along with Australia. For this, India will have to win their last league game on Tuesday against Sri Lanka in Hobart with a bonus point. And Australia should beat Sri Lanka on Friday, March 2, in Melbourne, which will be the last day of preliminary round.
Then the points will be 15 for India. In such a case, both India and Sri Lanka will have 15 points each.
Then, according to tournament rules, India will pip their Asian neighbours into the finals on the basis of number of wins against them.
When two teams are tied with same points, then the team with most number of wins will go through to the finals. But in such a case, India and Sri Lanka both would have ended with three victories apiece. Then, the head-to-head record will be seen to determine who plays in the finals, meaning the most number of wins against the other opposition. India would have beaten Mahela Jayawardene-led twice and this will sail them into the finals. Sri Lanka had defeated India only once in Brisbane and the other game was tied.
Scenario 3: A win with a bonus point on Sunday and a loss on Tuesday
Winning with a bonus point on Sunday against Australia will take India to 15 points. Even if they go down to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, they can qualify. For this to happen, Sri Lanka have to win against the hosts on March 2. Then Sri Lanka and India will play in finals. Australia with 14 points will miss out.
Scenario 4: A win without a bonus point on Sunday and a loss on Tuesday is not enough
A win against Australia on Sunday will take India's tally to 14, same as Australia. But if India go on to lose their final league game to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, then they don't have a chance of reaching finals. Even if Australia are beaten by Sri Lanka on March 2, Friday, it will be a Australia-Sri Lanka finals.
In such a case, Australia (14) will edge India (14) because the hosts would have got two bonus points with them. As per tournament rules, when two teams are equal on points, first the number of numbers will be considered. If still equal, then head-to-head. If still matched on equal terms, then number of bonus points.
In scenario 3, India and Australia will ended with three wins apiece and in head-to-head it will be same (two wins each in four games). However, India without a single bonus point will missing in this tie-breaker.
Win without bonus point: 4 points
Win with bonus point: 5 (Bonus point is awarded to that team which achieves a run rate of 1.25 or higher than the other in the match)
Tie or No Result: 2 points each
In case of teams finishing on equal points, then the finalist will be decided as per the following:
1. Team with most number of victories
2. If still equal, then head-to-head in the league stages. Team with more wins against the other team which is locked on same on points.
3. If still same, then team with most bonus points
4. If still tied, then the team with highest Net Run Rate