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Pakistan's Naseem Shah and teammates celebrate the dismissal of India's Virat Kohli during their Group A match in in New York on Sunday. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: The Twenty20 World Cup first round has reached the halfway mark with many illustrious teams in danger of missing out on qualification for the Super Eight stage.

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Australia and South Africa have secured their places in the next round with three consecutive victories. India have also followed suit with a clinical win over USA to maintain a clean record in their third straight game, including a narrow six-run win over Pakistan in Group A.

World No 1 Suryakumar Yadav regained his form at the right time to lead the Men in Blue past a fighting USA after Team India lost two quick wickets, including talisman Virat Kohli for a golden duck. Skipper Rohit Sharma followed suit to become left-arm pacer Saurabh Netravalkar's second scalp in the third over, the target of 111 in 20 overs looked daunting.

Arshdeep's stunning spell

In-form Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar started rebuilding the Indian innings with a 29-run partnership before Suryakumar and left-hander Shivam Dube took the 2007 champions home with 10 balls to spare. Suryakumar and Dube had to endure some hostile bowling on a wicket that had plenty of assistance to the bowlers.

Earlier, Indian left-arm pacer took charge from fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah to claim four wickets for nine runs to reduce the co-hosts to 110 for eight in 20 overs. He was adjudged the Player of the match for his miserly spell.

Traditional slow starters

Pakistan, with two losses, face a difficult path to the Super Eight. However, they are not unfamiliar with such challenges, having famously won the 1992 World Cup from the brink and nearly repeating the feat in 2022.

Historically, Pakistan have been a slow starters in World Cups, but they can’t be written off due to their talented individual, who could alter the course of the match. They need to regroup and win their next game against Ireland to keep their hopes alive, depending on the results of other matches.

Scenarios and challenges

USA, with an inferior run rate, play Ireland on June 14, while Pakistan face Ireland on June 16. The results of these matches will determine Pakistan’s chances.

Defending champions England are also in danger, with just one point from two games after a washout against Scotland. England must win both their matches against Namibia and Oman by large margins to edge out Scotland on run rate. Scotland, playing Australia in their final match, will benefit even from a no result, potentially ending England’s run.

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Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa celebrates the dismissal of Namibia's Zane Green. Image Credit: AFP

Key performances

Australia advanced to the Super Eights with a nine-wicket demolition of Namibia at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Tuesday. Adam Zampa led the rout with figures of 4-12, becoming the first Australian man to reach 100 T20I wickets. Namibia were bundled out for just 72, and Australia reached the target in 5.4 overs, losing only one wicket.

Zampa expressed his satisfaction, saying, “I bowled a couple of pies (bad balls) tonight to get a couple of wickets, but that happens at times. This is the first step in trying to take the trophy home, but there is a long way to go.”

Points table

T20 points table

New Zealand’s struggles

Last World Cup’s semi-finalists New Zealand have been struggling, with an 84-run loss against Afghanistan hurting their chances. Coach Gary Stead said the team has had “honest conversations” ahead of a do-or-die clash against the West Indies, to be played at 4.30am UAE. “We have to win three games. We have to win them well,” Stead said.

Stead said he may tinker with his line-up, but will resist making vast changes.

“I think one of the dangers is if you chop and change too much, then it looks like you are panicking a wee bit,” he said.

“We had some pretty honest conversations around the performance.

“It’s a new game. The danger is you take what happened in the last game and bring it into this one.

“Our challenge is to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and make sure the next performance is something that we should be proud of.”

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Sri Lankan players acknowledge the crowd's cheers after the match against Nepal was washed out. Image Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka’s dismal campaign

Former champions Sri Lanka are all but eliminated after a washout against Nepal left them with just one point from three matches. Wanindu Hasaranga’s team is at the bottom of their group, needing a miracle to advance. Sri Lanka will conclude their group campaign against the Netherlands on Sunday, hoping for favourable results in other matches.

The road ahead

The next few days will clarify the qualifying situation, but it won’t be easy on pitches that assist bowlers, bridging the gap between bat and ball. This has made contests more exciting and evened the playing field between heavyweights and minnows.

— With inputs from agencies