Cricket World Cup 2023: Will it be an India vs Pakistan semifinal?

Here is a look at the fight for the fourth semifinal spot and who are in the race

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Photo: Reuters file
Photo: Reuters file

Published: Thu 9 Nov 2023, 11:07 AM

India, South Africa and Australia have booked a place in the ODI World Cup semifinals but the fourth spot is still up for grabs with as many as four teams in the race.

New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan, all tied on eight points, are in a position to advance to the semifinals. With four points from seven games, the Netherlands can also mathematically make it to the semis. However, the Dutch side’s qualification depends on multiple ifs and buts. Also, they will have to defeat both England and India to have any change of making ot to the knockouts.

Fans could also possibly witness another India-Pakistan encounter at the World Cup. If Pakistan manage to make the cut ahead of New Zealand, Afghanistan and finish fourth on the points table, Pakistan will run into arch-rivals India.

The first and the fourth-placed teams go up against each other in the first semifinal at the Wankhede Stadium, venue of that epic 2011 World Cup final, on November 15.s

Let’s take a look at the current semifinal scenarios.

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New Zealand

8 points in 8 matches

Photo: PTI file
Photo: PTI file

New Zealand’s final league-stage fixture will be against Sri Lanka and the Black Caps will be aiming to win that contest at any cost. A victory against Sri Lanka will give provide an upper hand to the Kiwis in the race for the final semi-final spot. After beating Sri Lanka, New Zealand will hope Pakistan and Afghanistan do not win their last league-stage games by big margins to compensate for their Net Run Rate (NRR) deficit. New Zealand can still reach the last-four stage even if they concede a defeat to Sri Lanka. In that case, New Zealand will want both Afghanistan and Pakistan to lose their matches.

Pakistan

8 points in 8 matches

Photo: PTI file
Photo: PTI file

After some poor form, Pakistan are back in contention for the knockouts after two consecutive wins at the World Cup. In their final league fixture, Pakistan will be up against defending champions England on Saturday. Even if Pakistan succeed in getting the better of England it will not be enough for them to reach the semis. Pakistan will want New Zealand to lose to Sri Lanka on Thursday. If the Kiwis win, Pakistan will have to register a huge win against England. Pakistan’s semi-final qualification will hang by a thread if they lose to England. In a scenario like this, Pakistan will desperately want both New Zealand and Afghanistan to lose their last matches. Moreover, New Zealand will have to suffer a big defeat against Sri Lanka if Pakistan are to reach the semis.

Afghanistan

8 points in 8 matches

Photo: AFP file
Photo: AFP file

Afghanistan find themselves at the sixth spot. In their last league-stage game, Afghanistan will take on South Africa. A win against the Proteas will not be enough for Afghanistan to qualify for the knockouts. Even if they beat South Africa, Afghanistan will need both New Zealand and Pakistan to lose their last remaining league-stage games. Afghanistan, New Zealand and Pakistan will all end up with 10 points each if they succeed in winning their last league game. In that case, the net run rate will decide the fourth and final semi-finalist.

Netherlands

4 points in 7 matches

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The Netherlands now occupy the ninth spot and in their last league game they will face table-toppers India on Sunday. The Dutch side’s chances of reaching the semis are slender but not certainly finished. With two matches left for them in the league stage, the Netherlands’ top-most priority will now be to win both. Even if they manage to achieve that, the Netherlands need New Zealand, Afghanistan and Pakistan to lose their final games.

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