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World Cup 2015: Ireland's wins make life tough for Pakistan and West Indies



World Cup 2015: Ireland's wins make life tough for Pakistan and West Indies
Stung by the early exit of India and Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup, the ICC decided to create a foolproof format for this edition, ensuring a smooth ride into the quarterfinals for all top teams. It clearly hadn't provided for a refreshingly bold performance from one of the minnows. 

Ireland raised that prospect of one of the traditional forces missing out when they upset West Indies in their opening clash; they turned it into a genuine possibility on Wednesday by fighting all the way till the end and pulling off a thrilling two-wicket victory over the United Arab Emirates. 

Let us look at the way Group B stands at the moment: India are currently on top of the group with 4 points from 2 matches; with the big gun out of the way, they will surely win at least two more games to get past this round. South Africa may have lost to India and be wallowing at No. 4 but they have enough depth and talent to recover and finish smartly.

 

Currently, the West Indies are No. 2 with 4 points but they have already played 3 matches and are struggling on net run-rate; they have two tough games ahead, one against India and another against South Africa, and both can go either way. If they can't win even one of them, they will need to trounce UAE on March 15 and then hope that the rest falls into place. 

Pakistan are right at the bottom, even below UAE, after losing both their matches comprehensively. They will be confident of picking up two points each against UAE and Zimbabwe but won't be so self-assured against South Africa. 

In such a case, the last league game in this group, between Pakistan and Ireland, may well turn out to be a knockout clash. Ireland, on the other hand, may jump to 6 quickly if they stay true to form and tame Zimbabwe on March 7. 

They will pray for another victory soon but with South Africa and India looming next it may not be so easy. But if they pull off another big game, then there is no doubt that either Pakistan (most likely) or West Indies (not so likely) will be the victims. 

So everything may well boil down to their clash against Pakistan. Interestingly, they can lose to Pakistan and still make it as long as they hang on to their net run-rate advantage. Even more intriguingly, that may well mean that Pakistan too can sneak in, as long as they can do something dramatic about their net run-rates. 

In such a scenario, West Indies may well be left licking their wounds even if all three end up with six or more points. This may turn out to be a dangerous proposition, as the Pakistan-Ireland clash is scheduled to begin a couple of hours before the West Indies-UAE fixture. 

As of now, an upset is on the cards.
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