The ideal scenario for Pakistan will be for New Zealand to not walk away with two points and also South Africa to beat Afghanistan.
Glenn Maxwell’s double hundred has put Australia in the semifinals. With 12 points in the bag, none of the teams below them can match their tally. It means they will take on South Africa in one of the semifinals. There is a three-way race for the lone remaining semi-final spot. Here is a look at those in with a chance as the World Cup enters the final stretch…
Afghanistan: 8 points, one match remaining against South Africa
It has become all the more challenging for Afghanistan, who need a lot of help to go through. If they beat South Africa on Friday, they will end up on 10 points, a tally that New Zealand and Pakistan can also match. But with their net run rate (NRR) being the lowest among the three teams still with a chance of making the semi-finals, they not only need to win big against South Africa but also hope New Zealand and Pakistan face crushing defeats.
If New Zealand lose to Sri Lanka or Pakistan lose to England, a win against South Africa will put Afghanistan in the semifinals. In the case of all three losing, they will struggle to go through as their NRR is in the negative (-0.338).
New Zealand: 8 points, one match remaining against Sri Lanka
After the rain-curtailed game against Pakistan, which they ended up losing despite having 401 runs on board, the Black Caps’ fate is not in their own hands. They need to beat Sri Lanka on Thursday in Bengaluru, where there is a forecast of rain. If New Zealand lose to Sri Lanka, the only way they go through is if both Afghanistan and Pakistan also lose, bringing the NRR into picture.
If the Kiwis’ game is washed out, they will have nine points and can go through if Afghanistan and Pakistan lose on Friday and Saturday respectively. If all three end up winning or losing, New Zealand have a good chance of progressing as they have a healthy NRR (+0.398).
Pakistan: 8 points, one match remaining against England
The good thing for Pakistan is that by the time they take the field against England in Kolkata, they will know what exactly to do. The ideal scenario for them will be for New Zealand to not walk away with two points and also South Africa to beat Afghanistan. In that case, Pakistan only have to beat England to qualify as NRR won’t come into the picture. But if New Zealand win and Afghanistan lose, Pakistan will have to post a big win over England to make it through as the Kiwis have the best NRR among the three. If both New Zealand and Afghanistan win, they have to beat England with an eye on the NRR.