As the ICC World Cup 2023 approaches the halfway point, the four teams most likely to finish in the top four for a place in the semifinals have begun to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, but huge shocks can still generate jitters and shifts in places.
Each of the ten teams has played five matches, and six victories in nine round-robin games are regarded safe, but seven wins are expected to ensure a spot in the knockouts. India is the closest to that six-win total, having won all five of their matches thus far.
England and Pakistan, two of the large teams facing an early departure, face must-win circumstances against India and South Africa, respectively, in their next matches to keep their semifinal chances alive. After losing to Sri Lanka on Thursday, defending champions England suffered their fourth defeat in five matches; while 1992 winners Pakistan had lost their past three matches, including a surprise setback to Afghanistan.
Australia is back in style after two early defeats to be ranked fourth, South Africa has not allowed the defeat to the Netherlands to impact their momentum and is ranked second, and No. 3 New Zealand has been consistent aside from their solitary defeat to India.
Except for Australia, who lost their first two matches before winning the following three, the teams presently holding the top four positions have been the most reliable.
New Zealand and South Africa are tied at eight points apiece and are divided by NRR, with the Proteas' +2.370 significantly outperforming New Zealand's +1.481.India is currently only two points ahead of SA and NZ in terms of net revenue ratio (NRR) at +1.353. However, a victory here will essentially guarantee the home club a spot in the semifinals.
After two victories in five games, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are separated by NRR. Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, are ranked No. 5, Pakistan No. 6, and Afghanistan No. 7. All three of the mid-table teams are still in the hunt, but they cannot afford to lose any more ground with four points apiece and fourth-place Australia only two points ahead.
Afghanistan has demonstrated that they are up for any challenge and will exert all effort to pursue a historic first-ever semifinal qualifying by defeating Pakistan and England.
When England plays India on October 29, they have a difficult match since they are a fast-moving team. They will not advance to the semifinals if they lose there. With South Africa, who have lit up the competition with their bat, Pakistan's predicament isn't all that different on Friday. Babar Azam's team will get nearer the departure gate if they lose.
According to the current points table, undefeated India appears to be the only team with a chance to go to the semifinals.The title holders England were crushed by Sri Lanka in the 25th game of the 48-match competition, falling by an eight-wicket margin.
The English have had a similar run as the Dutch, winning only one of their five matches to occupy the last two slots. England is only slightly ahead of the Dutch at No. 9 due to a higher net run rate (NRR).
Bangladesh is in the same situation as England and the Netherlands, with only one win in five matches, a surprise triumph over England. The Bengal Tigers are ranked eighth since their NRR is higher than the previous two teams.