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Qualification Scenarios: South Africa Dent Sri Lanka's Knockout Chances

Nikhil Narain |June 29, 2019, 12:13 AM IST
Qualification Scenarios: South Africa Dent Sri Lanka's Knockout Chances

A fine bowling display by the South African pacers gave their team a comprehensive 9-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on Friday.

While it was a consolation victory for the Proteas as they have already been ousted from the tournament, the loss will severely hamper Sri Lanka’s chances of making the knockouts. They have to win both their matches now to have a chance of making the top 4.

India had registered a smashing 125-run win over West Indies at Manchester on the June 27 (Thursday) and with it all but secured a place in the semi-finals.

India, with 11 points from 6 matches, moved to second position on the points table only behind Australia (12 points). Courtesy the margin of the win they overtook New Zealand, also on 11 points, with a better net run rate.

A terrific all-round performance by Pakistan at Edgbaston saw them register a convincing six-wicket win over New Zealand thereby significantly increasing their chances of making the semi-finals.

Pakistan now have 7 points from 7 matches and have moved to number 6 in the points table.

Australia became the first team to qualify for the 2019 World Cup semi-finals after their comprehensive 64-run win over hosts England at Lord’s on Wednesday (June 25).

England have dug themselves a big hole and now need to win both their matches to be in a comfortable position of making the knockouts. West Indies, South Africa and Afghanistan are the three teams who have bowed out of the semi-final race.

With Australia through to the knockouts, where do the remaining 6 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 Almost Certain to Join Australia but New Zealand in Tricky Situation


With 6 wins from 7 matches, Australia are perched at the top with 12 points and have 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 14 of their last 15 ODIs.

India got a real scare from Afghanistan but a convincing win over the West Indies ensured that they remained unbeaten in this World Cup – the only team to not lose a match so far in the tournament. With 5 wins from 6 matches (and one washout), India are a win away from securing a semi-final spot.

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 and Bangladesh still to come, India should comfortably muster 15 points and sail through to the semi-finals - even if they lose to England.

New Zealand are in third place with 5 wins from 7 matches. The loss to Pakistan was their first of the tournament. They need another win to be certain of making the last 4 as only two other teams – Australia and India - can cross 12 points – New Zealand would, in such a case have 13.

However, there is a strong chance that they may end with 11 points as their two remaining matches are with Australia and England.

This will make the equation tricky for New Zealand as England can also reach a maximum of 12 points and one of Bangladesh or Pakistan can reach a maximum of 11. However, the only realistic threat they face is from England as the net run rate of both Pakistan and Bangladesh is in the negative and in all probability they will not be able to catch up with New Zealand.

England – From Favourites to Possibility of Non-Qualification

Eoin Morgan

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 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 either side 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 Bangladesh or Pakistan may just leave them behind and secure the number 4 position.

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 Pakistan, who, if they win their remaining two matches would pip them for the number 4 position by ending with 11 points.

Pakistan’s victory over New Zealand was bad news for England as now the 1992 Champions have a very realistic chance of finishing with 11 points.

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 (and same number of wins) with other teams, their net run rate should see England through.

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 and New Zealand mean that they are now at number 6 with 7 points from 7 matches. The win against New Zealand was crucial as now Pakistan have a very real chance of finishing with 11 points – with their two remaining matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

They would then hope that England do not win more than one of their remaining two matches.

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

Difficult for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

Sri Lanka’s loss to South Africa has made their task of qualifying for the semi-finals a tad difficult. They now need to beat West Indies and India to have any chance of making it to the knockouts.

They would then hope that England lose their remaining two matches and Bangladesh and Pakistan do not win more than one. In such a case, Sri Lanka will qualify in fourth position.

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 – against India and a resurgent Pakistan. If they win both their remaining matches, Bangladesh will end with 11 points and then hope that England do not win more than one.

The Bottom Three

South Africa will be happy with a win 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 too bowed out of the tournament.

Afghanistan have lost 7 out of 7 and have also 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. India (win all their remaining matches to end with 17 points)

2. Australia (win both their remaining matches to end with 16 points)

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

4. Pakistan (win both their remaining matches to end with 11 points)

This means the following two potential semi-finals:

India vs Pakistan & Australia vs New Zealand.

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Also Watch

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