As the league stage approaches its business end, the World Cup 2019 qualifications scenarios are truly hotting up, with seven teams still in the contention of making it to the semi-finals.
The Aussies currently lead the points table with 12 points and have secured their place in the semi-finals. The Afghans are out, owing to the seven losses in a row they have endured in this competition.
Against many expectations, Faf du Plessis’ South Africa are out of the tournament, having registered just the solitary win against Afghanistan.
With just 12 matches left in the league stage, the top-four scenarios become even more important for the teams resting in the middle of the table.
So, without much ado, let’s take a look at the qualification scenarios of the teams still in the contention for the remaining three semi-final slots.
Note: The stats/results considered in this article are verified till the completion of Match 33 between New Zealand and Pakistan.
Pre-tournament favorites England have experienced a mixed WC campaign so far, with four wins and three defeats in seven league games. After their back to back defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia, the hosts now find them in a must-win situation against two power-packed teams in India and New Zealand, on 30 June and 3 July respectively.
A win in both games will certainly cement their spot in the 2019 semi-finals, while if they manage to win just one game, then their chances will depend on the performance and results of other teams like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Despite having made below-par start, the Islanders still have a real chance of making it to the semis, all thanks to their unprecedented victory against the hosts.
They currently lie in the middle of the league table with six points, and should they beat South Africa (28 June), West Indies (1 July) and India (6 July), their tally will take them to 12 points to secure their semis berth.
However, their inconsistency of late makes it a daunting task.
Due to the demoralizing defeat against Pakistan, New Zealand’s wait to secure a semis berth extends, and they still need to win one more game out of the remaining two, against Australia (29 June) and England (3 July) to secure a comfortable berth in the knockout stages.
However, in case they lose both of their upcoming fixtures, then their entry into the semis will be based on two scenarios; first – both England and Sri Lanka fail to secure wins in their remaining games, and second – if one among these two qualify, then there is a minor possibility of Kiwis’ NRR to come into play after the Bangladesh v Pakistan clash.
The Men in Blue are the only unbeaten side in Cricket World Cup 2019, with four wins and one rain barred clash in five games.
They have four matches remaining, against West Indies (27 June), England (30 June), Bangladesh (2 July) and Sri Lanka (6 July).
However, securing the playoffs berth does not appear like a tough task for the Kohli’s army, as victory in just two of the remaining four games will guarantee them a confirmed spot in the semis.
Given the balance in the side, form of the batters and the relentless bowling attack featuring the likes of Chahal, Shami and Bumrah, it looks like India are sure to finish in the top two.
With three wins, three defeats and one abandoned clash in their seven league fixtures, the Bangla Tigers (7 points) are still in the contention for the semi-final berth. But their chances of progression depend a lot on the performance of England (8 points) and Sri Lanka. (6 points)
But first, they must win their upcoming fixtures against India (2 July) and Pakistan (5 July) to finish at 11 points.
Pakistan stunned the Kiwis by six wickets to keep their World Cup campaign alive. However, not all is done and secured as their future lies in their own hands – with fixtures against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
With that and a defeat for England and Sri Lanka, Pakistan will barge to a semi-final spot.
The Caribbeans are having a forgettable campaign, with just one win in their six matches.
But a no-result game against the Proteas implies they are still in the play-offs race with three points so far. Despite this, they are highly unlikely to make it to the semis, as it would require a lot of results to go their way.
First, they will have to win all of their remaining fixtures against India (27 June), Sri Lanka (1 July) and Afghanistan (4 July). Then, they would hope that all the remaining semi-final aspirants such as England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan fail to secure wins in any of their remaining games, which seems highly unlikely.
In other scenario, if both Bangladesh and Pakistan win one game each and England loses their remaining games, then a three-way tie (9 points) will decide the semi-finalist on the basis of NRR.