Who can qualify for the last Cricket World Cup semifinal spot and how?

With India, South Africa and Australia already through, who will qualify for the last remaining Cricket World Cup semifinal berth?

Pakistan's Babar Azam
Captain Babar Azam during Pakistan's victory over New Zealand in a rain-hit match in Bengaluru on November 4 [Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters]

Australia have become the latest team to advance to the semifinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, following their stunning three-wicket win over Afghanistan in Mumbai.

Led by Glenn Maxwell’s all-time great innings in a World Cup match, the five-time champions produced an incredible turnaround to book their slot on Tuesday night.

Along with hosts India and second-placed South Africa, they have become the third team to cement their place for the November 15 and 16 knockout matches.

At the bottom half of the table, defending champions England became the first team to be eliminated from contention following a series of ignominious defeats and have been relegated to the last spot.

For Bangladesh, a tournament campaign that began with controversial selection decisions and public spats has ended in yet another failure to qualify for the knockout stage of an international tournament.

The Netherlands lived up to their reputation of producing an upset or two in a major tournament, but are all but out of running for the semifinals with five defeats and just four points. They face England and favourites India in their last two matches that they must win with big margins and hope all the teams above them lose all theirs to have a sniff.

Sri Lanka’s stuttering run has brought them two wins along with six losses, which have knocked out the 1996 champions.

And so, it leaves us with three teams fighting it out for the remaining spot. Here’s a look at their run-up to the closing stages of the group stage and what they need to do to qualify:

New Zealand

Points: 8
Net run rate: 0.398
Remaining fixture: Sri Lanka (November 9)

New Zealand began their campaign by thrashing England and were marked as one of the favourites but have now lost four matches and are placed fourth.

The 2019 finalists find themselves embroiled in a three-way tussle with Pakistan and Afghanistan but have the advantage of a superior net run rate among the three teams.

Kane Williamson’s men need to win their last group match against Sri Lanka.

New Zealand will still have a chance if they lose to Sri Lanka but do not take a big hit on their net run rate. In such a scenario, they will need Pakistan and Afghanistan not to win their last match but not by a big margin, allowing the Blackcaps to go through on net run rate.


Points: 8
Net run rate: 0.036
Remaining fixture: England (November 11)

In all-too-familiar circumstances, Pakistan’s late surge has seen them get back in contention after two back-to-back wins with a match to go against the tournament’s bottom-placed team.

However, their qualification for the semifinal is once again dependent, not only on other results but also on the margin of those results.

Babar Azam’s men need to win against England and hope that New Zealand and Afghanistan lose. A loss to England will all but confirm Pakistan’s exit.

The 1992 champions can also qualify on net run rate if:

  • New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by a slim margin and Pakistan beat England by 130 runs or more.
  • The match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka is washed out, as rain is forecast over the next few days in Bengaluru, and Afghanistan beat South Africa but do not improve their net run rate by a large margin.


Points: 8
Net run rate: -0.338
Remaining fixture: South Africa (November 10)

Of the three teams with eight points apiece, Afghanistan have the worst net run rate going into the last group-stage match.

Afghanistan had a wonderful opportunity to put one foot in the semifinals after posting an impressive total against Australia, but the loss leaves them facing an uphill task and the risk of missing out on the semifinals should they fail to beat the Proteas on Friday.

Should Hashmatullah Shahidi’s crowd favourites win one match and finish on 10 points, they can qualify for the semifinals if Sri Lanka beat New Zealand and England beat Pakistan.

In case New Zealand and Pakistan win their respective matches, Afghanistan would be knocked out despite being level on points due to their much poorer net run rate.

Source: Al Jazeera