New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan are on eight points each and are separated only by net run rate.
Following Australia’s stunning victory on Tuesday, which secured their place in the semi-finals against South Africa, the race for India’s potential semi-final opponent is mainly between New Zealand, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. All three teams have accumulated eight points each and are separated solely by net run rate (NRR). New Zealand currently holds the highest NRR at 0.398 among the three teams.
To secure a semi-final spot, New Zealand, the runners-up from the previous edition, needs to secure a substantial victory while hoping that Pakistan (0.036) and Afghanistan (-0.038) do not win. New Zealand’s recent struggle, with four consecutive losses due to poor bowling, combined with a forecast of rain for their match in Bengaluru, adds further intrigue to the scenarios.
The possibility of an India-Pakistan semi-final at Eden Gardens is still on the table. To make this happen, Pakistan must deliver an outstanding performance against England on Saturday. The Babar Azam-led team must secure a significant victory and will have the advantage of playing after New Zealand and Afghanistan’s games.
Afghanistan, a rapidly improving team in the tournament, had Australia in a challenging position before snatching defeat from a favorable position. They will face title-contenders South Africa in Ahmedabad on Friday. When Pakistan takes on England in Kolkata on Saturday, they will be aware of the exact run-rate requirements. For Afghanistan to secure the fourth spot, they must achieve a significant victory against South Africa to surpass the NRR of New Zealand and Pakistan.
In a scenario where New Zealand and Pakistan both lose to Sri Lanka and England, respectively, a victory against South Africa will be enough for Afghanistan to qualify.
Netherlands, a minnow in the tournament, has an outside chance in terms of mathematical probability. With four points and two matches remaining, they can reach eight points. However, for them to advance, the Dutch team must produce two major upsets to significantly improve their negative net run-rate (-1.504). Additionally, they would need New Zealand, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to lose their respective matches by significant margins.