Halfway through the World Cup the gap between the top four teams – Australia, New Zealand, India and England – and the rest has started to show. If not as clearly on the points table then surely on the field where Australia, the table toppers, have lost only to India, who are unbeaten alongside New Zealand. England have been dominant bar their slip-up against Pakistan.
Here’s a look at what the bottom five teams need to do to bolster their chances of making the semis.
West Indies: The West Indies gave Pakistan a hammering in their opening clash but have fallen flat since. With 3 points from 4 matches and games against India, Pakistan and New Zealand yet to come, the clash against Bangladesh on Monday, June 17 and Afghanistan become must-wins. They will aim to win at least two of the remaining three to have an outside chance of making the final four.
South Africa: South Africa were pegged back by 3 successive defeats and a washout in their first 4 games and have only got their first win in their last outing, against Afghanistan. With 3 points from 5 matches, the scenario for the Proteas is simple: win all 4 remaining games and then hope that their poor run rate of -0.208 improves along the way. With games against Australia and New Zealand yet come, it’s far from easy.
Bangladesh:Like the West Indies, Bangladesh too had begun their campaign in style by beating South Africa but have lost their way since. Losses to England and New Zealand, and a wash out against Sri Lanka leave them with games to play against India and Australia among the top four. Therefore, games against the West Indies, Pakistan and Afghanistan are must-wins. A win against any or both of India and Australia will be a bonus.
Pakistan: A crushing defeat against India has further dented Pakistan’s chances. They have 3 points from 5 matches, but have only New Zealand to face from the top four. Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and South Africa haven’t been the most dangerous sides thus far and Pakistan must back themselves to win these games and then hope New Zealand have a bad day at the job. They have the worst NRR in the tournament of -1.933.
Afghanistan: With 4 losses out of 4, Afghanistan are bottom-placed and look all but eliminated. They have tough clashes against India and England coming up, and then some more against Pakistan, Bangladesh and the West Indies. They’d still have a chance if they win all 5, but their abysmal run rate of -1.638 may come in the way.