NEW DELHI: South Africa won 4 out of their five league matches and yet failed to qualify for the semis in the ongoing T20 World Cup on Net run rate. Cruel, right? But that’s what cricket is. A game of fine margins.
Net run rate, which has become one of the major talking points in this T20 World Cup, once again played a key role in South Africa’s ouster from this year’s extravaganza even though the Proteas played some outstanding cricket. England, Australia and South Africa were all tied on 8 points after their 5 group games, but England and Australia went through to the semi-finals with better net run rates than the South Africans.
Saturday witnessed two high-profile contests in Group 1 — Australia vs West Indies and England vs South Africa and two of these four teams — Australia and South Africa were in a cut-throat competition to grab a place in the semis. With 3 wins each, both Australia and South Africa had to win their final group matches and then their NRR would decide who would eventually finish in the top two in Group 1.
Both the teams won their respective games, but the Proteas, who were third in the group behind the Aussies on the basis of NRR before Saturday, failed to better their NRR and were eventually knocked out of the competition on mathematics.
Group 2 which has India, is also facing something similar and the fight for the second place alongside the already qualified Pakistan team could potentially boil down to NRR — although there are some other interesting parameters, which we will also look at here.
But for now, we dig deep into what net run rate is, how it is calculated and try to understand how it has affected teams in the ongoing T20 World Cup.
When teams are tied on the basis of points in the group stage, their NRR is used to break the deadlock and decide which team will advance in the competition and whose journey is going to end. Sometimes number of wins is the first parameter to break a tie, followed by NRR – This is the case in the ongoing T20 World Cup as well.

Step by step explanation of NRR from the perspective of Team India at the ongoing T20 World Cup:
Runs scored by India in their first four matches:
vs Pakistan – 151/7 in 20 overs
vs New Zealand – 110/7 in 20 overs
vs Afghanistan – 210/2 in 20 overs
vs Scotland – 89/2 in 6.3 overs
Total 560 runs in 66 overs and 3 balls or 66 and one half over (For calculations it will be written as 66.5 overs)
Runs scored rate calculation – 560/66.5 = 8.421
NOTE:
* Wickets are not taken into account while calculating NRR
* If a team is BOWLED OUT before their full quota of overs, then entire 20 overs are taken into consideration, otherwise the number of overs played are taken into account
Runs conceded/opposition score against India in their first four games in the ongoing T20 WC:
Pakistan – 152/0 in 17.5 overs
New Zealand – 111/2 in 14.3 overs
Afghanistan – 144/7 in 20 overs
Scotland – 85 all out in 17.4 overs
Total 492 runs in 72 overs 2 balls (which for calculations will be written as 72.33 overs)
Run conceded rate calculation – 492/72.33 = 6.802

India NRR after 4 matches = +1.619
To understand better how significant NRR becomes, here’s a look at a very recent example of the Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad match in IPL 2021.
* MI before their last league game against SRH had a NRR of -0.048 and were fifth on the table below Kolkata Knight Riders, who had a NRR of +0.587
* In order to qualify for the playoffs, MI had to win against SRH by a margin of 171 runs or more to overtake the KKR NRR
* If MI would have batted second, there was no scenario for Rohit Shamra and co. to take their NRR above KKR
* Batting first, MI scored 235 but as soon as the SRH score (193/8) crossed 65, the qualification hopes for MI were done and dusted
* MI eventually finished with a NRR of +0.116 and ended fifth on the points table after the completion of the league-stage matches
What happened in last two matches of Group 1 in the ongoing T20 World Cup:
In Saturday’s Australia vs West Indies match, Australia, who already had a better NRR than South Africa, improved it a bit further and got it to +1.216 with their win over West Indies by chasing down the target in 16.2 overs.
In the day’s second game, when South Africa posted 189/2 after batting first they had to restrict England to 131 or below to leapfrog Australia’s NRR (+1.216). But England eventually ended up at 179/8 in their 20 overs and South Africa had a final NRR of +0.739 after 5 matches, which kept them below Australia on the points table, and they failed to qualify for the knock-outs.
How NRR could come into play in Group 2
For NNR to come into the picture in Group 2, the first and most important condition is that New Zealand have to lose to Afghanistan in their afternoon game on Sunday.
If New Zealand win, they will straightaway qualify for the semis on the basis of points and there won’t be anything dependent on NRR.
But if New Zealand lose, things will get very interesting, especially for India. With a hypothetical New Zealand defeat, Afghanistan will gain two crucial points and will join the Kiwis on six points. India will then play minnows Namibia on Monday and assuming India beat Namibia, all three teams — India, New Zealand and Afghanistan will have 6 points each after all the Group 2 matches are completed. Then the team with the better NRR run rate will qualify in this three-way battle.
India, who currently have the best NRR of +1.619 (after 4 matches) among these three teams will then have a high probability of advancing to the semis. Their victory margin vs Namibia of course will also be a big factor. If Afghanistan win against New Zealand that will make their NRR slightly better — which is +1.481 at the moment — but chances of that overtaking India’s NRR are perhaps not very high.
And even if Afghanistan win big against New Zealand and take their NRR ahead of India’s, Virat Kohli and co. will still have a chance to better it in their last group match against Namibia which takes place on Monday. They will have a fair idea of how much they need to win by, in their final match, if Afghanistan beat New Zealand on Sunday.
If New Zealand win against Afghanistan on Sunday, then India’s clash against Namibia will be a dead rubber and Virat Kohli and co. will be knocked out of the competition.





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