T20 World Cup calculations: Proteas within touching distance of SF spot

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Mark Boucher. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Mark Boucher. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Proteas are in T20 World Cup action again on Thursday, taking on Pakistan in Sydney in a match that could be crucial to their hopes of progressing to the tournament semi-finals. 

It is an intriguing affair with the race for playoff places now reaching its climax. 

While Australia, England and New Zealand are all tied on 5 points each in Pool 1 with one game each remaining, Pool 2 - where the Proteas are - has become equally fascinating. 

India's DLS victory over Bangladesh on Wednesday means that they now top of the pool with 6 points, while the Proteas are second with 5 points. The difference is that the Proteas have two matches still to play while India and Bangladesh - in 3rd place on 4 points - only have one. 

It means that if South Africa beat Pakistan on Thursday, they will book a spot in the semi-finals regardless of what happens in any of the other fixtures or in their final pool clash against the Netherlands on Sunday. 

If Pakistan win on Thursday, however, then that sets up a more nervy situation. 

That results would leave the log looking like this heading into the final round of fixtures: India 6 points, South Africa 5 points, Bangladesh 4 points, Pakistan 4 points, Zimbabwe 3 points, Netherlands 2 points. 

Even in that situation, the Proteas will still have their their destiny in their own hands, and victory over the Netherlands will see them qualify. 

What makes getting over the line against Pakistan important, though, is that if Sunday's game against the Netherlands is washed out, then the Proteas will finish on 6 points in the pool and could mathematically be eliminated on net run-rate should other results not go their way. 

All things considered, the Proteas are within touching distance of a playoff place that few would have backed them to achieve heading into the tournament. 

Remaining Pool 2 fixtures:

SA v Pakistan - Thursday, 10:00 

SA v Netherlands - Sunday, 02:00

Bangladesh v Pakistan - Sunday, 06:00

India v Zimbabwe - Sunday, 10:00

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