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Qualification Scenarios: England Edge Closer to Semis; Sri Lanka Knocked Out

In a marquee clash at Edgbaston, England, in a must-win game, gave a supreme performance with the bat to hand India a 31-run defeat – their first loss of the tournament.

Nikhil Narain |July 1, 2019, 7:19 AM IST
Qualification Scenarios: England Edge Closer to Semis; Sri Lanka Knocked Out

In a marquee clash at Edgbaston, England, in a must-win game, gave a supreme performance with the bat to hand India a 31-run defeat – their first loss of the tournament.

England, under pressure, played aggressively – the brand of cricket that has given them massive success in the last three to four years – and posted a mammoth 337 for 7. India finished with 306 for 5.

With the win, England displaced Pakistan and have moved to number 4 in the points table.

England’s victory also ensured that Sri Lanka are out of the World Cup.

On Saturday (29th June), Pakistan overcame a stiff and spirited challenge from Afghanistan and escaped with a three-wicket win with two balls to spare at Leeds.

In the second match of the day, a fine bowling display by the Australian quicks helped them register a comprehensive 86-run win over New Zealand at Lord’s.

Australia consolidated their position at the top and now have 14 points from 8 matches while New Zealand suffered their second consecutive defeat in the tournament.

Sri Lanka join West Indies, South Africa and Afghanistan - the four teams who have bowed out of the semi-final race.

Pakistan and Bangladesh are still in with a chance though not a very probable one.

With Australia through to the knockouts, where do the remaining 5 teams stand in the competition? Who is the Dark Horse in the semi-final race?

Let us have a look at the most realistic and some unrealistic scenarios.

India Should Still Finish in Top Two

Indian cricket team

With 7 wins from 8 matches, Australia are perched at the top with 14 points having already qualified for the knockouts – which is a great result for a team who had their worst year in 2018 (in terms of win-loss ratio) in ODI cricket.

Australia have now won 15 of their last 16 ODIs and are guaranteed of a top two finish in the group stages.

India, in spite of the loss to England, have 5 wins from 7 matches (one washout) and are in a comfortable number two position with 11 points.

A win against Bangladesh or Sri Lanka will secure them a semi-final berth.

If they win both the matches they will end with 15 points and be guaranteed a top two finish.

New Zealand Should Qualify Despite Losses

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson spoke to the media. (Pic: AP)

New Zealand are in third-place with 5 wins from 8 matches despite losing two matches in a row to Pakistan and Australia.

They need to beat England to be certain of making the last 4.

If England beat New Zealand, they end with 12 points. New Zealand remain on 11 and theoretically, one of Pakistan or Bangladesh can equal them on points. However, the likelihood of them overtaking New Zealand on the points table is low as the latter’s net run rate is very high whereas Pakistan’s and Bangladesh’s is in the negative.

Thus New Zealand should qualify even if they lose to England.

England A Win Away from Semi-Finals/ A Loss Away from Ouster


England’s magnificent win over India means that their clash with New Zealand is a potential Quarter-Final, at least for England.

If they win, they end with 12 points and secure a semi-final spot.

If they lose, they would then hope that Bangladesh beat Pakistan and in turn lose to India. But if Pakistan wins in this scenario, England will be knocked out of the tournament.

The Dark Horse: Can Pakistan do a 1992?

There is an unreal similarity between Pakistan’s journey to the knockouts in the 1992 World Cup and their remarkable fightback in this World Cup.

Their wins over South Africa, New Zealand and Afghanistan mean that they are now at number 5 with 9 points from 8 matches. Pakistan have a very real chance of finishing with 11 points with just one game remaining against Bangladesh.

They would then hope that England do not win against New Zealand. In such a case, Pakistan qualify for the semi-finals.

However, if England do beat New Zealand, then they would hope that it is by a big margin – which would ensure that New Zealand’s net run rate would drop. In such a scenario Pakistan will need to beat Bangladesh by a huge margin to qualify.

Difficult for Bangladesh

Bangladesh have 3 wins from 7 matches. Their batting, led by Shakib-Al-Hasan, has been a revelation. They have two difficult matches to end their group stage campaign – with India and a resurgent Pakistan. If they win both their remaining matches, Bangladesh will end with 11 points and then hope that England are beaten by New Zealand.


In such a case Bangladesh will qualify for the semi-finals.

However, if England beat New Zealand then the latter has to lose by a huge margin so that their net run rate goes down. In this case if Bangladesh thrash Pakistan and India they can pip New Zealand on net run rate and go through the semi-finals.

Sri Lanka Ousted and the Bottom Three

England’s win has ensured that Sri Lanka cannot qualify for the semi-finals and their World Cup campaign has ended.

They can now reach a maximum of 10 points but with 4 wins (England, the number 4 team already has 10 points with 5 wins; India, Australia and New Zealand all have more than 10 points).

South Africa got a consolation win against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on the 28th of June after their horrendous World Cup 2019 campaign came to an end (with their loss to Pakistan). They find themselves languishing at number 8 in the points table with 5 losses from 8 matches.

West Indies have lost 5 of their 7 matches and after promising much after their opening-match win against Pakistan, have completely fizzled out. They have also bowed out of the tournament.

Afghanistan have lost 8 out of 8 and have already been eliminated from the World Cup.


Going by form and momentum in the tournament and overall strength and weakness of a team, these seem to be the most plausible top 4 after the group stages:

1. Australia (beat South Africa to end with 16 points)

2. India (beat Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and end with 15 points)

3. England (beat New Zealand to end with 12 points)

4. New Zealand (lose to England to end with 11 points but have a higher NRR than Pakistan)

This means the following two potential semi-finals:

India vs England & Australia vs New Zealand

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Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 England 5253 105
4 New Zealand 3449 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5442 111
5 Australia 5854 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 6095 265
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 5248 262
see more