In the Cricket World Cup, New Zealand’s 190-run defeat to South Africa on November 1 has rekindled hopes for teams like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka as the competition intensifies in the latter stages of the league.
With 13 league matches remaining, only India and South Africa appear to be secure in securing semi-final spots. Australia currently holds the third position, while the contest for fourth place has intensified following New Zealand’s loss to South Africa in Pune on November 1.
Just a week ago, it seemed like the race for the top 4 spots in the Cricket World Cup was settled, with India, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia leading the way. However, New Zealand’s recent loss of form has given a new chance to the teams at the bottom of the standings. The Black Caps have suffered three consecutive defeats, including a devastating 190-run loss to South Africa on Wednesday.
As a result of this loss, New Zealand dropped from the third position to fourth in the rankings, experiencing their second-largest defeat in Cricket World Cup history and a significant hit to their Net Run Rate. They now have 8 points from 7 matches, only 2 points ahead of Pakistan in fifth place and Afghanistan in sixth.
Potential Tie-Breaker Scenarios
Teams with 12 points: Australia, New Zealand, and Afghanistan Teams with 10 points: Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka Teams with 8 points: Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan/England, and Sri Lanka
World Cup Qualification Scenarios: Explained
How South Africa Can Qualify
South Africa can secure a spot in the semi-finals by winning one of their remaining two games. They currently have 12 points from 7 matches. Their impressive Net Run Rate, driven by four instances of scoring over 350 runs in this World Cup, may also be enough to secure their qualification.
Remaining Fixtures for South Africa:
- vs. India in Kolkata on November 5
- vs. Afghanistan in Ahmedabad on November 10
How India Can Qualify
India can ensure a semi-final spot by winning at least one of their remaining 3 games. They currently have 12 points from 6 matches.
Remaining Fixtures for India:
- vs. Sri Lanka in Mumbai on November 2
- vs. South Africa in Kolkata on November 5
- vs. Netherlands in Bengaluru on November 12
How Australia Can Qualify
Australia needs to secure a victory in at least one of their remaining 3 matches to stay in contention for the semi-finals. They will be guaranteed a spot if they manage to win 2 out of their remaining 3 matches or win all of them.
Australia would be wise to avoid a scenario where they must rely on Net Run Rate, as a 10-point logjam appears imminent.
Australia’s Upcoming Matches:
- vs. England in Ahmedabad on November 4
- vs. Afghanistan in Mumbai on November 7
- vs. Bangladesh in Pune on November 11
New Zealand’s Path to Qualification
Despite their substantial 190-run loss to South Africa, New Zealand maintains control over their destiny. With 8 points from 7 matches, New Zealand is on a clear path to qualification if they secure victories in their remaining 2 matches, as accumulating 12 points with a favorable Net Run Rate should suffice.
While 10 points might be adequate for New Zealand to qualify, they should remain cautious about Net Run Rate scenarios. The only team from the lower half that can reach 12 points and potentially challenge New Zealand is Afghanistan.
However, New Zealand might find themselves in a challenging position if they lose their upcoming match against Pakistan in Bengaluru on November 4.
Adding to their challenges, injury concerns have plagued the BlackCaps, with James Neesham and Matt Henry joining the list after sustaining injuries during their match against South Africa. At present, New Zealand appears to have only 10 fully fit players, with notable players like Lockie Ferguson and Kane Williamson also nursing injuries.
New Zealand’s Upcoming Matches:
- vs. Pakistan in Bengaluru on November 4
- vs. Sri Lanka in Bengaluru on November 9
Pakistan’s Path to Qualification
A week ago, Pakistan’s World Cup journey seemed uncertain, but recent developments have swung in their favor. Following a heart-wrenching 1-wicket loss to South Africa in Chennai, Pakistan regrouped and defeated struggling Bangladesh in Kolkata, ending a 4-match losing streak.
With 6 points from 7 matches, Pakistan currently holds an edge over Afghanistan, thanks to their superior Net Run Rate. However, their destiny is not entirely in their hands, and they’ll need favorable results from other matches. Most importantly, Pakistan’s route to the semi-finals hinges on winning their remaining two matches. They must also be vigilant about their Net Run Rate, especially in case of a tie at 10 or 8 points.
To surpass New Zealand’s Net Run Rate, Pakistan must defeat the BlackCaps by a margin of 83 runs or chase down a target in approximately 35 overs when they face off in Bengaluru on Saturday and then maintain that advantage in their final game.
Pakistan’s Remaining Fixtures:
- vs. New Zealand in Bengaluru on November 4
- vs. England in Kolkata on November 11
Afghanistan’s Qualification Prospects
Afghanistan stands a strong chance of reaching their first-ever World Cup semi-finals and creating history. With 6 points from 6 matches, they have an opportunity to reach 12 points and avoid a potential Net Run Rate battle at the end.
Afghanistan’s path to the semi-finals involves hoping for New Zealand to falter against Pakistan and securing victories in all their remaining matches.
Their match against Australia on November 7 also provides an opportunity to influence Australia’s prospects. Afghanistan could qualify with 10 points, provided they manage their Net Run Rate effectively.
Afghanistan’s Remaining Fixtures:
- vs. Netherlands in Lucknow on November 3
- vs. Australia in Mumbai on November 7
- vs. South Africa in Ahmedabad on November 10
Sri Lanka, Netherlands, and England’s Qualification Chances
New Zealand’s significant defeat in Pune has revitalized the hopes of Sri Lanka, Netherlands, and England.
- Sri Lanka can improve their chances by winning all their remaining matches, including one against New Zealand. They also need Pakistan and Afghanistan to lose at least one of their remaining games, with a preference for Pakistan defeating New Zealand. Sri Lanka’s Net Run Rate remains a concern, so they must win their matches by significant margins.
- The Netherlands, with 6 points from 6 matches, has an opportunity to join the 10-point competition. While they can’t be ruled out, their challenging matches ahead and their Net Run Rate pose challenges.
- England, currently in the 10th spot on the points table, have an outside chance of making it to the semi-finals. To boost their Net Run Rate, they must win their remaining 3 matches by substantial margins and hope for New Zealand to lose both their remaining matches or for Australia to falter. If England were to qualify with 8 points, they’d need favorable results from other matches, and losing even one of their next 3 games would eliminate them from the competition.