With India and South Africa done, who will qualify for the two remaining Cricket World Cup semifinal berths?
With less than a week left in the round-robin group stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup, India and South Africa have cemented their place in the semifinals of the tournament on November 15 and 16.
Hosts India’s 243-run thrashing of the Proteas on Sunday, and their eighth straight win in the tournament, confirmed their position at the top of the points table.
Despite their heavy defeat against the two-time champions, South Africa have also qualified for the knockout stage, and Australia are almost certain to make it.
In the bottom half of the table, defending champions England became the first team to be knocked out of contention after a string of humiliating defeats and relegated to last place.
For Bangladesh, a tournament campaign that began with controversial selection decisions and public fights ended with yet another failure to qualify for the knockout stage of an international tournament.
The Netherlands lived up to their reputation of producing an upset or two at a major tournament, but all but ran out of steam for the semifinals with five losses and just four points. They face England and the favorites India in their last two matches which they need to win with huge margins and hope all the teams above them lose everything to have a sniff.
Sri Lanka’s stuttering run brought them two wins with five losses. Even if the 1996 champions win their last two matches, against Bangladesh and New Zealand, they will need to reverse their poor net run rate to have any chance of qualifying.
And so, this really leaves us with four teams battling it out for the two remaining spots. Here’s a look at their run-up to the final rounds of the group stage and what they need to do to qualify:
Net run rate: 0.924
The remaining fixtures: Afghanistan (November 7), Bangladesh (November 11)
The five-time champions need to win one of their two remaining matches to secure their place for a record-extending eighth Cricket World Cup semifinal. They are currently in third place with 10 points but could go up or down after the group stage.
If Australia can win both matches with big margins, they can overtake South Africa in net run rate or points if the Proteas lose their last match in Afghanistan.
If they lose both fixtures, they still have a good chance of qualifying due to their superior net run rate among mid-table teams.
Make that FIVE in a row! 🔥
– Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) November 4, 2023
Net run rate: 0.398
Remaining fixture: Sri Lanka (November 9)
New Zealand started their campaign by beating England and were marked as one of the favorites but have now lost four games and are in fourth place.
The 2019 finalists find themselves involved in a three-way battle with Pakistan and Afghanistan but have the advantage of a superior net run rate among the three teams.
Kane Williamson’s men need to win their last group match against Sri Lanka and hope Afghanistan lose at least one of their last two matches.
New Zealand still have a chance if they lose to Sri Lanka but cannot hit their net run rate. In such a scenario, they would need Pakistan and Afghanistan not to win any more matches, allowing the Blackcaps to pass the net run rate.
Net run rate: 0.036
Remaining fixture: England (November 11)
In all too familiar circumstances, Pakistan’s late surge saw them claw their way back into contention after two consecutive wins with a game to play against the tournament’s bottom team.
However, their qualification for the semifinal again depends, not only on other results but also on the margin of results.
Babar Azam’s men need to win against England and hope New Zealand and Afghanistan lose all their matches. An England defeat would all but confirm Pakistan’s exit.
The 1992 champions may also qualify for net run rate if:
- New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by a narrow margin and Pakistan beat England by 130 runs or more.
- The match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka was washed out, as rain was predicted for the next few days in Bengaluru, and Afghanistan won a match but did not improve their net run rate by a large margin.
The best scenario for Pakistan to qualify for the semis is:
Pakistan beat England
Sri Lanka beat New Zealand
AFG lost one game and their NRR remains low
If it’s a tie with NRR in NZ
Pakistan should beat England by approx. 130 runs (that’s assuming NZ beat SL by 1 run).
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) November 4, 2023
Net run rate: -0.330
The remaining fixtures: Australia (November 7), South Africa (November 10)
Of the three teams with eight points each, Afghanistan have the biggest advantage as they are the only team with two games in hand.
Two wins in these two matches will make it easier for them to enter the semifinals.
However, given the reputation and form of their opponents, Afghanistan face an uphill task and risk going out in the semifinals with a loss against both.
If Hashmatullah Shahidi’s favorites win a match and finish with 10 points, they can qualify for the semifinals if Sri Lanka beat New Zealand and England beat Pakistan.
If New Zealand and Pakistan win their respective matches, Afghanistan will be knocked out despite being level on points due to their poorer net run rate.
– Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) November 3, 2023