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Can England and Pakistan still make it to the World Cup semi-final?

Last updated on 25 Oct 2023 | 03:26 PM
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Can England and Pakistan still make it to the World Cup semi-final?

England are languishing near the bottom of the points table, their chance of qualification hangs by a thread same as Pakistan's

England are not here to defend the title. But they are facing one roadblock after another on their way to the semi-finals. With just two points in four matches and a negative Net Run Rate (NRR) of -1.248 in the ICC 2023 Cricket World Cup, they were at the bottom of the table until Bangladesh's massive defeat against South Africa in Match 23.

On a rather interesting note, instead of a 149-run win, if it had been a 147-run win for South Africa against Bangladesh, England would have remained at the bottom.

Like England, before this WC started, Pakistan were also a potential top-four candidate. However, things have taken a U-turn for the men in green. After two wins in their first two games, Pakistan suffered losses, starting from a demoralizing defeat against India. 

They lost against Australia and recently against Afghanistan. They are fifth in the table and above England with four points and a negative NRR of -0.400. But, they will face some stiff challenges ahead. 

The question now is, how will these two teams qualify for the semi? India (10 points) at the top of the table are almost a win or two away. South Africa (2.370) boosts an NRR so massive that it will take some doing to topple them on that front. 

New Zealand are also on the brink of qualification. Australia, at number four, have found their touch.  

This leaves the defending champions and Pakistan with an uphill task for qualification. Sorry for the pun, Royal Challengers Bangalore fans, but the England peeps need your help with some calculations. For now, check this article to know more about their chances. 

Scenarios for England and Pakistan that are in their hands

First things first, the maximum points either team can reach is 12. However, only one can achieve that as they are playing each other in the penultimate game of the league stage. 

In the 2019 edition, England made it to the Semi with six wins (third). The fourth team, New Zealand, went through with 11 points as a result of one no-result. Pakistan (-0.430) were tied with the Blackcaps (0.175) but had a negative NRR. With this evidence, let's keep the benchmark as 12 points or six wins. 

Pakistan are left with three games before their encounter against England. If they manage to win all three, they will attain ten points. The same goes for England, but they have one match more than Pakistan before the 44th game. The Three Lions will also reach ten points if they win all four. That means the game on 11th November makes it a virtual Quarter-final for these two. 

"Winner Winner, chicken dinner!!"

One loss for either of them, then thank you for visiting India, and see you in 2027. This means both teams' maximum attainable points will be ten, which won't be sufficient. 

Scenarios for England and Pakistan that isn’t in their hands 

Just wins in all games won't help either team, especially England. With their negative NRR, they need to find one big win. If they win by small margins and reach 12 points, their NRR is so bad that it might not help them qualify. Pakistan also have a poor NRR, but it is still manageable. 

Assuming England wins all their matches until the game against Pakistan, including a game against Australia, they would want the Aussies to lose one more game. Apart from the England game, Australia must lose one against New Zealand, Afghanistan or Bangladesh.

If the Aussies win all four (barring against England), they will reach 12 points. It will be a head-on battle with NRR even if England wins all five, including the game against Pakistan or vice versa (Pakistan wins against England after winning all their games).

Pakistan will also be hoping for the same. They would also want New Zealand or any other three playing against Australia to win one.

To make it worse, Pakistan will face a red-hot South Africa in their next game. Later, they will be up against New Zealand followed by England. The only “easier” fixture is against Bangladesh. 

On the other hand, England will play Sri Lanka next in Bengaluru. But the next two games are against tough opponents, India and Australia. Apart from Australia, an out-of-the-box threat is Afghanistan. If they win all four remaining games miraculously, they will have 12 points. Even if the Afghans lose one match, they can reach up to ten. 

Is it possible for both teams to qualify? Hmmm! Not more than 0.00......%

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