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Qualification Scenarios: England Leave Themselves a Mountain to Climb

Nikhil Narain |June 26, 2019, 7:04 AM IST
Qualification Scenarios: England Leave Themselves a Mountain to Climb

Australia became the first team to qualify for the 2019 ICC World Cup semi-finals after their comprehensive 64-run win over hosts England at Lord’s.

England have dug themselves a big hole and now need to win at least one of their remaining two matches – against New Zealand and India – to give themselves a fair chance of making the knockouts.

South Africa became the first big casualty (second team after Afghanistan) to be ousted from the tournament after their 49-run loss to Pakistan at Lord’s on Sunday, 23rd of June.

Sri Lanka had done the World Cup 2019 a huge favour when they effected the biggest upset of the tournament with their 20-run win over England at Leeds. This upset suddenly threw open the qualification scenarios which seemed to be meandering to a predictable end.

With Australia through to the knockouts, where do the remaining 7 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 and New Zealand Most Likely to Join Australia

With 6 wins from 7 matches, Australia are perched at the top with 12 points and have qualified for the knockoutswhich is a great result for a team who had their worst year in 2018 (in terms of win-loss ratio) in ODI cricket.

Sri Lanka and England, both, can also potentially finish with 12 points. Assuming Australia lose their last two, these three teams can end with 12 points each.

Kohli celebrates a dismissal. (Twitter/@BCCI) Kohli celebrates a dismissal. (Twitter/@BCCI)

But Sri Lanka, in such a scenario, would still win a maximum of 5 matches (two no-result matches) and thus Australia (and England) will edge them for a semi-final berth as both these teams would have 6 wins in the Group Stage (see rule below):

In the event of teams finishing on equal points

* The team with the most wins in the League Stage will be placed in the higher position.

* If there are teams with equal points and equal wins in the League Stage then in such case the teams will be ordered according to their net run rate in the League Stage matches.

New Zealand are in second place with 5 wins from 6 matches. Along with India, they are the only team to not lose even a single match, thus far, in the tournament.

New Zealand were lucky with the schedule – they had an easy first-half draw and made the most of it – with wins over Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and South Africa. Their toughest match in the first half – against India – was washed out.

Another win and they would be certain of a semi-final berth as only two other teams – Australia and India - can cross 12 points – New Zealand would, in such a case have 13.

Matches against Australia and England will not be easy though and New Zealand have an unfavourable head to head against Pakistan in World Cup cricket (2-6).

India got a real scare from Afghanistan but held their nerve to remain unbeaten in this World Cup. With 4 wins from 5 matches (and one washout), India are a couple of wins away from securing a semi-final spot.

File photo of Pakistan cricket team.

They had an excellent start to their World Cup campaign beating three tough sides in South Africa, Australia and Pakistan. With comparatively easier matches against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and West Indies still scheduled, India should comfortably muster 15 points and sail through the semi-finals (even if they lose to England).

Two wins from 4 matches are enough for them to cement a semi-final spot.

England – From Favourites to Possibility of Non-Qualification

England’s two shock defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka and their loss to Australia has suddenly, to use a cliché, set the cat amongst the pigeons. England are feeling the pressure of being the home team at the biggest stage in international cricket. All their three losses have come chasing!

England have 4 wins from 7 matches and have their task cut out in the two remaining matches – against India and New Zealand. England haven’t had the best of records against these sides in World Cup encounters having beaten none since 1992!

If England lose both these matches, they remain on 8 points. In such a scenario, the home team faces a threat of being eliminated before reaching the semis as there is a very definite chance that one of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Pakistan may just leave them behind and secure the number 4 position.

James Vince is bowled by Behrendorff (ICC)

If England win one of these matches, they are still in trouble. In such a scenario England end with 10 points and face a realistic potential threat from Sri Lanka who, if they win all their remaining three matches could pip them for the number 4 position by ending with 12 points. One of Pakistan or Bangladesh could also overtake England in such a scenario.

The positive for England, though, is their net run rate - it is still the second-best in the tournament. So should a case arise where they find themselves tied on the same number of points with other teams, their net run rate should see England through.

The Dark Horse

Sri Lanka have had a mixed bag so far in the tournament. After being thrashed by New Zealand and beaten comprehensively by Australia and the weather playing spoilsport in two matches where they would have fancied their chances – against Pakistan and Bangladesh, they came back in fine style and defended a moderate total against hosts England.

Sri Lanka have a slight edge over Pakistan and Bangladesh as they have lost one match less than both these sides. They have three matches remaining – against South Africa, West Indies and India and have a realistic chance of beating the first two which would ensure they end with 10 points. They would then hope that England lose their remaining matches and Bangladesh do not win more than one and Pakistan do not win more than two. In such a case, Sri Lanka will qualify in fourth position.

Source: AP

Bangladesh have 3 wins from 7 matches. Their batting, led by Shakib-Al-Hasan, has been a revelation. They would fancy their chances against Pakistan but it will be their clash against India which could potentially decide their fate. If they win both their remaining matches, Bangladesh will end with 11 points and then hope that Sri Lanka do not win all their matches and England win not more than one.

Can Pakistan do a 1992?

Pakistan came back against all odds and with a lot of luck going their way with the results of other teams, made it to the semi-final of the 1992 World Cup Down Under, finally going all the way and lifting the trophy.

They find themselves in a similar format and position in England 2019. Their win over South Africa means that they are now at number 7 with 5 points from 6 matches. Pakistan’s real test will be against New Zealand. If they can come out triumphant against them then they should also beat Bangladesh and Afghanistan and in such a scenario they will end with 11 points. They would then hope that England do not win more than one and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka lose at least one match.

In such a scenario, Pakistan will make it to the semi-finals.

If Pakistan win two of their three matches and end with 9 points they have a very miniscule chance of making the knockouts as their net run rate of -1.265 is the second-lowest in the tournament– only better than Afghanistan’s!

The Bottom Three

West Indies would have had their heart and soul broken after their loss to New Zealand at Manchester. They have won just one solitary match – against Pakistan. They have just 3 points from 6 matches – this includes four losses and one washout.

To have any realistic chance of making it to the knockouts, West Indies need to win all their remaining 3 matches which will take them to 9 points – this will be a tough challenge as one of their clashes is against India.

West Indies

West Indies would then hope that England and Bangladesh lose both their matches and Pakistan and Sri Lanka win not more than one.

However, this is a highly unlikely scenario.

South Africa’s horrendous World Cup 2019 campaign finally came to an end and they have no chance of making it to the knockout stage now. They find themselves languishing at number 9 in the points table with 5 losses from 7 matches.

Afghanistan have lost 7 out of 7 and have already been eliminated from the World Cup.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more