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ICC World Cup 2019: The semifinal scenario

India

Bengaluru, July 1: The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 completed a month on Sunday (June 30) and it has entered into a very interesting phase.

Only seven matches are left in the round-robin league and the three semi-finalists apart from Australia will be decided in these.

The defending champions are the only side to have made the last four with just one loss and sitting at the top of the table with 14 points with one game to go.

WC Special | Points Table | Full schedule | Squads

The teams that are in the contest to make the other three spots are as many as six. While India are still at the second position with 11 points despite their loss to England on Sunday; New Zealand are third with 11 points as well with just one game to go; England are back into the fourth place replacing Pakistan with 10 points by beating India; Pakistan have nine points with one game to go; Bangladesh have seven from seven and Sri Lanka have six from eight. The three teams that are out of the tournament are South Africa, West Indies and Afghanistan though they can spoil the party of any of those six mentioned above.

Here we look at how the six teams in the race for the semifinals can still make it:

India; 11 points from 7 games:

India; 11 points from 7 games:

India are a certainty among the six to make the semi-finals unless they do very very badly from here. India have a good net run-rate (NRR) of +0.854 and two matches left in the tournament. They play Bangladesh on Tuesday (July 2) and Sri Lanka on Saturday (July 6). One win from these two will take them to the semifinals.

Only if India lose both and some other teams make it to 11 points and pip them in the NRR that India could see them going out of the tournament. Even that chance is very unlikely because England and New Zealand, the other two teams that can overtake India in terms of points, have their final game against each other and hence only one can go ahead of Virat Kohli's side. Pakistan and Bangladesh also have the potential to make 11 points and pip India but Kohli's side has advantages here as well. While Pakistan and Bangladesh will play their final game against each other, both their NRRs are also in the negative.

New Zealand; 11 points from 8 games:

New Zealand; 11 points from 8 games:

Once among the clear favourites to make the semifinals, back-to-back losses against Pakistan and Australia have put the Kiwis under pressure. They have their virtual quarterfinal against hosts England, who bounced back with a bang on Sunday, at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday.

While a win will take them to the semifinals straight, a loss would put them under threat from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Black Caps' big hope is that NRR of +0.571 is better than both Pakistan and Bangladesh and could make it still. NZ will clearly want India to beat Bangladesh and Bangladesh to beat Pakistan so that their threats are nullified.

England; 10 points from 8 games:

England; 10 points from 8 games:

The hosts were out of the top four for 24 hours but returned with a bang by beating India by 31 runs at Edgbaston. Eoin Morgan's side must beat the Black Caps in their final league game as a loss could see them in jeopardy since Pakistan are just one point away from them.

Bangladesh, with seven points, could also topple them if they win both their final games. The hosts will not spare any effort to give their best in that ‘quarterfinal' at Chester-le-Street and make the semi-finals for the first time after 1992. England's NRR is +1.

Pakistan; 9 points from 8 games:

Pakistan; 9 points from 8 games:

Sarfaraz Ahmed's side has done their best to reach the semifinals by winning their last three games after a poor start. But it might not be enough yet, especially after England defeated India on Sunday.

Pakistan have to win their final game against Bangladesh at Lord's on Friday and they need to win big as well so that their NRR (-0.792) gets into a positive shape. That NRR might put things beyond the Pakistanis' reach in the final count despite all their heroics. In hindsight, Pakistan could rue their insipid performance against the West Indies.

Bangladesh; 7 points from 7 games:

Bangladesh; 7 points from 7 games:

Another team that also has two games to play in the tournament. Bangladesh got a week's break since their last game against Afghanistan and will take on India who will be playing their third match in six days. Mashrafe Mortaza's men have the experience of beating India in the World Cup in the 2007 edition and will take inspiration from that.

Bangladesh's other match is against Pakistan and they will have to win both to make their first-ever semifinal in the World Cup. Their NRR of -0.133 is better than Pakistan and a win over India would put them ahead of their sub-continental rivals in the run-up of the big clash on Friday. On that day, not, 1992 but 1971 could be the year of discussion!

Sri Lanka; 6 points from 7 games:

Sri Lanka; 6 points from 7 games:

The team that looks farthest from the semi-finals at the moment but theoretically, can still make it. The former world champions can reach 10 points still and make the last four provided the ifs and buts go to their favour.

If England lose their final match against New Zealand by a huge margin, Bangladesh lose to India and beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka themselves win over the West Indies and India by a huge margin (their NRR is -1.186) that Dimuth Karunaratne's side can advance to the semifinals. A least likely scenario though.

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Story first published: Monday, July 1, 2019, 11:24 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 1, 2019
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