Namibia, which is ranked 14th in the ICC rankings, stunned newly-crowned Asia Cup winners and 2014 champions, Sri Lanka by 55 runs in the tournament opener.
When the 2022 T20 World Cup had begun on Sunday at the Kardinia Park in Geelong, little did one expect the tournament to kick off with an early upset. Sri Lanka and West Indies were the overwhelming favourites for the preliminary round of the World Cup, where eight teams are vying for the remaining four spots in the Super 12 stage, slated to kick off from October 22 onwards. But Namibia, which is ranked 14th in the ICC rankings, stunned newly-crowned Asia Cup winners and 2014 champions, Sri Lanka by 55 runs in the tournament opener. But what became the bigger talking point after the match was what this shock defeat for Sri Lanka could mean for Rohit Sharma-led Team India in this World Cup.
According to the format of the 2022 T20 World Cup, the preliminary stage has two groups. The winner of Group A and the runner-up of Group B will join Afghanistan, England, Australia and New Zealand in Group 1 in Super 12. And, the winner of Group B and the runner-up of Group A will join India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Africa in Group 2 in Super 12.
Before the start of the tournament on Sunday, prediction of many had Sri Lanka in Group 1 and West Indies in Group 2, which could have made a rathe fair contest on either side. But Sri Lanka’s shock defeat has blown the entire tournament wide open.
If Sri Lanka win their remaining two matches – against Netherlands and the UAE – and Namibia script a winning streak, Dasun Shanaka’s men might land in Group 1 of Super 12 by virtue of finishing second in Group A. Meanwhile, if West Indies go as per predictions, then Group 1 is surely to turn into a ‘group of death’ in this World Cup, implying that India will have a task cut out to make the semi-final stage of the tournament.