Scenarios – What NZ, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to do to make the World Cup semi-finals

Australia’s impressive victory over Afghanistan has left only one semi-final spot available, and three teams find themselves tied with eight points from eight games, vying for that coveted position. Let’s examine the qualification scenarios for each of these teams.

New Zealand
Played: 8, Points: 8, Net Run Rate (NRR): 0.398
Remaining match: vs Sri Lanka

New Zealand holds the best NRR among the trio, but their recent form is concerning, having suffered four consecutive losses. Their last defeat was against Pakistan in Bengaluru, the same venue where they will face Sri Lanka next. A win in this crucial match would significantly enhance their semi-final prospects, especially if they can secure a convincing victory. In case of a loss, New Zealand could still qualify if both Pakistan and Afghanistan also lose, allowing them to sneak through based on NRR. The possibility of a washout in Bengaluru due to predicted rain on Thursday could also affect their fate, potentially putting them at nine points if the match doesn’t occur.

Played: 8, Points: 8, NRR: 0.036
Remaining match: vs England

Pakistan’s NRR ranks second among the three teams. If New Zealand loses to Sri Lanka or if their match gets washed out, a victory against England would put Pakistan in a strong position for qualification. However, if New Zealand wins, Pakistan not only needs to defeat England but also do so with a substantial margin to outdo New Zealand’s NRR. Even if New Zealand scores 300 and wins by just one run, Pakistan would have to win by 130 runs to surpass their NRR.

Played: 8, Points: 8, NRR: -0.338
Remaining match: vs South Africa

Afghanistan faces the challenge of the weakest NRR among the three teams. Their best hope lies in the scenario where neither New Zealand nor Pakistan wins their final match. In such a case, any margin of victory against South Africa would suffice for Afghanistan. If New Zealand fails to win their last game and Pakistan edges out England by a run, Afghanistan would need to beat South Africa by 140 runs to surpass Pakistan’s NRR. However, if New Zealand wins by just one run in a full 50-over game, Afghanistan’s victory margin would have to be a staggering 273 runs (assuming both teams score 300 in their first innings). While there have been larger margins of victory in the tournament, it would require an extraordinary effort from Afghanistan to achieve such a comprehensive win against South Africa.

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