CWC19: The Race to the Semi Finals

Adrian Meredith crunches the numbers and tells us what each team needs to do to reach the semi finals.

Sri Lanka’s loss to South Africa has all but eliminated them, and, while in theory neither New Zealand nor India have qualified, and Sri Lanka are still a chance, more likely we have 3 teams in England, Pakistan and Bangladesh, fighting for one spot.

  1. Australia (12 pts, +0.906, vs New Zealand, South Africa).
  2. India (11 pts, +1.16, vs England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka).
  3. New Zealand (11 pts, +1.028, vs Australia, England).
  4. England (8 pts, +1.051, vs India, New Zealand).
  5. Bangladesh (7 pts, -0.133, vs India, Pakistan).
  6. Pakistan (7 pts, -0.976, vs Afghanistan, Bangladesh).
  7. Sri Lanka (6 pts, -1.186 vs West Indies, India).
  8. South Africa (5 pts, -0.08, vs Australia).
  9. West Indies (3 pts, -0.32, vs Sri Lanka, Afghanistan).
  10. Afghanistan (0 pts, -1.634, vs Pakistan, West Indies).

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They’ve qualified with 2 matches to go and can now rest easily against New Zealand and South Africa. If they were one-off matches, they’d both be tough contests, probably 50/50, with Australia probably favourites against New Zealand and underdogs against South Africa, but in the context of this tournament it’s probably the opposite. New Zealand were unbeaten before their match against Pakistan, yet are still a chance to miss out on the semi-finals, and that may be motivation enough for Australia to beat them. As for South Africa, it is every bit a dead rubber and in World Cups past it is a match that the team in Australia’s position would lose but with the position in the semi-finals at stake Australia may not want to risk falling to 2nd spot, especially if one of Bangladesh or Pakistan end up in 4th. Australia would much rather face either Bangladesh or Pakistan in the semi-finals than New Zealand, and that may be enough motivation to beat South Africa too.


They have probably already qualified, but in theory at least they can yet be overtaken by the winner of the Pakistan vs Bangladesh match – at least if their net run rate can lift to higher than India’s. It’d mean that India lose to all 3 of England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and the winner of the Pakistan vs Bangladesh match would also need to beat their other opponent (Pakistan would need to beat Afghanistan, while Bangladesh would need to have beaten India) and even then it gets down to net run rate, and, with India being currently +1.16 while Bangladesh are -0.133 and Pakistan are -0.976 it looks desperately unlikely. Oh and they’d also need England to beat themselves and New Zealand too. Phew. Anything less than that and they’ve qualified. If they can win their last 3 matches they will finish 1st.

New Zealand:

Like India, New Zealand have probably already qualified, with only Pakistan and Bangladesh able to overtake them, and only if New Zealand lose their last 2 and the winner of Pakistan vs Bangladesh wins their other match (Pakistan against Afghanistan and Bangladesh against India) and England would need to beat both India and New Zealand, and then it gets down to net run rate, with New Zealand +1.028 while Bangladesh are -0.133 and Pakistan are -0.976. To date, New Zealand have only lost one match – their last match against Pakistan – and, whilst Australia and England represent much bigger threats, they may well win one of them. A washout in either match will be enough for New Zealand.


If England win their last two matches, against India and New Zealand, then they have qualified, and every team below them can cry foul. Anything less than that and they are suddenly in doubt, and the problem is that India are unbeaten while New Zealand are also ahead of them on the points table, and, in World Cups at least, England have struggled against those two teams. Pre-tournament England would have been favourite to win both games, but after their loss to Sri Lanka they have fallen into a pit of depression, and suddenly there is a very real chance that they will miss out. Even if they beat New Zealand but not India (or conversely beat India but not New Zealand) then they could be overtaken by the winner of Pakistan vs Bangladesh, so long as that team has also won their other match (Pakistan against Afghanistan and Bangladesh against India). However, even if they lose both, they are not quite eliminated – so long as Pakistan lose to Afghanistan, Bangladesh to India and Pakistan vs Bangladesh is washed out. Oh and in theory Sri Lanka could overtake them if that happens and Sri Lanka beats India and West Indies. They definitely need to win one of those two matches, but probably both to be sure of it. A win in one and a washout in the other is almost certainly good enough.


Provided that Bangladesh beats India and Pakistan and England lose to India and New Zealand, Bangladesh are through to the semi-finals, guaranteed. They can even finish as high as 2nd, if their wins are big enough, and other games go their way. However, if they lose to India then they will not only need to beat Pakistan but make sure that their net run rate is above Pakistan’s, and then England need to lose both of their matches. If Bangladesh lose to Pakistan, then it won’t matter if they’ve beaten India as they will be out (unless Pakistan have lost to Afghanistan). If Bangladesh lose both matches they are definitely out. For Bangladesh, the big match is against Pakistan, though they’ll want to beat India too. It is very difficult but there is yet some hope.


Incredibly, Pakistan are primed to qualify for the semi-finals. With Afghanistan next up as probably easy beats, then they will just need to beat Bangladesh to qualify – unless England play spoilsport and win both of their remaining matches. The problem is that if Pakistan lose to Bangladesh then they are probably out – even if Bangladesh had lost to India and Pakistan had beaten Afghanistan – as Bangladesh have a higher net run rate. It’s also an issue if they beat Bangladesh but lose to Afghanistan – even if Bangladesh had lost to India – as Bangladesh will most probably have a higher net run rate. In other words, Pakistan probably need to win both matches, or else win one by such a big margin that the other one doesn’t matter. If they win both matches, they are probably through. If they lose either, they are probably out. They are in a better position than Bangladesh, but only because Afghanistan are worse than India, and because Pakistan are a better side than Bangladesh. Oh, and because of 1992. It’s tough but, after England, they have the better chance of qualifying in 4th spot.

Sri Lanka:

In theory Sri Lanka can still make it but it’s oh so difficult. First off, they need to win both of their last 2 matches – against West Indies and India – which is going to be tough given that they just lost badly to South Africa. Then they need England to lose both of their last two matches. Then they need Pakistan to lose to Afghanistan and Bangladesh to lose to India. Or else whoever wins out of Bangladesh and Pakistan needs to have lost their other match, while England lose both matches and Sri Lanka win both of theirs. Yeah, it’s pretty much over for them, but in theory they are still a chance.

South Africa:

The best they can hope for is 6th place, provided that they win their last match against Australia and one of Pakistan or Bangladesh goes winless in their last 2 and Sri Lanka does too. They can’t qualify for the semi-finals. More likely they’ll finish 7th or 8th out of 10.

West Indies:

They can’t qualify either, though at least their game against Sri Lanka could be fun for them as they could 100% eliminate a semi-final hopeful, which is something to look forward to. Sadly for them, their last match is against Afghanistan, which won’t matter a whole lot, though it could be revenge for their loss to Afghanistan in the World Cup Qualifier final. They could yet finish as high as 6th.


Their last two opponents, Pakistan and West Indies, are both teams they have beaten recently, Pakistan in the warm-ups and West Indies in the World Cup Qualifier final. If they do somehow beat Pakistan, they could ruin a very popular dream, as it will all but eliminate Pakistan from contention. A win against West Indies would simply be for pride, but that may be all they are playing for. They are a game and a half behind second last, so they’ll need to win both games just to finish 2nd last on the table and that seems unlikely.

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