What do New Zealand and Pakistan need to do to qualify for the semi-finals?


England have been eliminated, South Africa have qualified for the semi-finals, while the fight for the last two semi-finals slots is largely among four teams. Here is how the qualifications scenarios look for the other teams.

Australia
Played: 7, Pts: 10, NRR: 0.924
Remaining matches: vs Afg, Ban

Two points following the win against England means Australia are well placed to seal the third semi-final spot and finish among the top three. They can confirm both if they beat Afghanistan in Mumbai on Tuesday – that will ensure Afghanistan can only finish on a maximum of 10 points, which will also be the ceiling for both New Zealand and Pakistan.

Even if they lose to Afghanistan, they can still finish among the top three if they beat Bangladesh in their last game. For Afghanistan to go past them, they will not only have to win both their matches, but also go past Australia’s net run rate. Currently, the gap there is huge – Australia are sitting pretty on 0.924 compared to Afghanistan’s -0.330.

If Australia lose to both Afghanistan and Bangladesh, then it could come down to net run rates. Three teams – Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan – could be fighting for one spot if Afghanistan beat South Africa and if New Zealand and Pakistan win their last matches. If Afghanistan lose, then four teams on 10 points could be fighting for two spots. Even there, Australia’s healthy NRR should make them favourites to qualify.

If New Zealand and Pakistan lose their last games, then Australia will qualify with 10 points even if they lose their last two.

New Zealand
Played: 8, Pts: 8, NRR: 0.398
Remaining match: vs SL

Four defeats in their last four matches have left New Zealand with much to do to ensure a semi-final spot. Even if they win their last game, they could miss out if Australia beat Bangladesh and Afghanistan win their last two – if all those results happen, four teams will finish with 12 or more points.

New Zealand’s best case will be for them to beat Sri Lanka, for Afghanistan to lose their last two, and for England to beat Pakistan. Then 10 points will take them through without NRR coming into play.

If both New Zealand and Pakistan win their last games, and if Afghanistan win a match too, it could come down to net run rates among the three teams. Currently New Zealand have a stronger NRR, and even if they beat Sri Lanka by just one run scoring 300, Pakistan will have to beat England by 130 (with the same total) to go past them.

Given that rain is forecast through the week in Bengaluru, there is also the possibility of New Zealand’s last game being washed out; if that happens, they will finish with only nine points, and they will have to hope for Pakistan and Afghanistan to lose their remaining matches and stay on eight.

Afghanistan
Played: 7, Pts: 8, NRR: -0.330
Remaining matches: vs Aus, SA

If Afghanistan win their last two matches they will qualify for sure, since they are one of only four teams who can finish on 12 or more points. The problem for them is that their two opponents are Australia and South Africa, among the best teams in the tournament so far. The other problem for them is their NRR of -0.330, which is easily the poorest among the teams they could be jostling with for a place in the semi-finals.

Their best chance of qualifying is if both Pakistan and New Zealand lose their last league matches and stay on eight points. Then, even one victory will be enough for them to qualify, without bringing run rates into play.

Pakistan
Played: 8, Pts: 8, NRR: 0.036
Remaining matches: vs Eng

After seemingly being out of the semi-final race, Pakistan have bounced back with wins against Bangladesh and New Zealand, and now have a shot at a top-four finish. For that to happen, though, they still need to depend on other results, even if they beat England in their last game. For example, even with 10 points, Pakistan could finish outside the top four if New Zealand beat Sri Lanka and finish with a better NRR, and if Australia win one of their last two. Afghanistan could play spoilsport too if they win their last two.

Pakistan’s best case-scenario is for them to beat England, for Sri Lanka to beat New Zealand, and for Afghanistan to lose their last two matches. Then, they will qualify without NRR coming into play.

As mentioned above, if New Zealand beat Sri Lanka even by a small margin, Pakistan will need to win their last game handily to overtake them on NRR. The advantage for Pakistan is that they will play the penultimate game of the league stage, so they will know exactly what they need to do to qualify.

Sri Lanka
Played: 7, Pts: 4, NRR: -1.162
Remaining matches: vs Ban, NZ

Netherlands
Played: 7, Pts: 4, NRR: -1.398
Remaining matches: vs Eng, Ind

Both Sri Lanka and Netherlands are in a similar position – their net run rates are poor, and they can get a maximum of eight points. With three teams already on more than eight, their only chance is for the other teams – New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan – to lose all their remaining matches and stay on eight. Then, either or both of these teams can also finish on eight by winning their last two matches, and NRR will decide which team goes through.

Given their terrible NRRs though, that is only a mathematical possibility.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats



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