Knock-out race: A look at the seven teams still in the fray at World Cup 2019

Knock-out race: A look at the seven teams still in the fray at World Cup 2019

New Zealand

Position: 1
Points: 11 points from 6 matches
Matches remaining: 3 (vs Pakistan, Australia, England)
Knockoutpossibility: Fairly secure
The equation: New Zealand began by bulldozing Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They managed to hold their nerve against South Africa and West Indies to take themselves to top of the table with 11 points from 6 matches. However, Kane Williamson will know that his team’s real test begins now. They will be facing off against Pakistan, Australia and England in their final three league matches. A solitary win is enough to guarantee them a passage into the knock-outs. However, if they lose all their remaining matches, they might still progress, but that will depend on how Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka perform. New Zealand would not want to cut it so fine. (POINTS TABLE)

Australia

Position: 2
Points: 10 points from 6 matches
Matches remaining: 3 (vs England, New Zealand and South Africa)
Knockout possibility: Fairly secure
The equation: With 10 points from 6 matches, defending champions Australia are placed second. Realistically, they are just a win away from being assured of a semi-final spot. And if Sri Lanka win all their remaining three matches, they will be tied with Australia on 12 points. In such a scenario, the team with a superior run-rate will qualify.

India

Position: 3
Points: 9 points from 5 matches
Matches remaining: 4 (vs West Indies, England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka)
Knockout possibility: Fairly secure
The equation: India are placed third in the points table with 9 points from 5 matches. They will progress to the semis if they win all their remaining four matches. With a healthy net run-rate of +0.809, they has the luxury of progressing even if they win just two matches. Things would get slightly dicey if they win just a solitary match. In such a scenario, they can still make it to the top-4, if England win just one of their three remaining matches and Sri Lanka win two. (Most runs, most wickets and points table so far)

England

Position: 4
Points: 8 from six games
Matches remaining: 3 (vs Australia, India, New Zealand)
Knockout possibility: tricky
The equation: England, one of the pre-tournament favourites, ought to win at least two of their three remaining games, which would take them to 12 points and ensure a last-four finish. Even three more points (a win and no-result or tie) could see them through.

But the hitch is that they are encountering not only the top three teams on the pile but also sides that have historically had the wood over them. The hosts haven’t beaten New Zealand, India and Australia in the World Cup in 27 years. Certainly, England do have the ammo to snap that record, even if they might miss explosive opener Jason Roy, but the equation is too close for comfort.

Bangladesh

Position: 5
Points: 7 from 7 games
Matches remaining: 2 (India, Pakistan)
Knockout possibility: improbable
The equation: Two more wins can take them there or thereabouts, but they need to keep an eye on the other games. History should lift their morale, as they are facing not only two familiar teams but also those they ve agonised in the past World Cups.

Especially Pakistan, to whom they haven t conceded an ODI since 2014, winning all four games in the interim. But a resurgent Pakistan wouldn t be easy to conquer. Just as it could be against India, against whom they ve traditionally blinked on the big stage, lost matches from the cusp of victory.

Sri Lanka

Position: 6
Points: 6 from six games
Matches remaining: 3 (South Africa, West Indies, India)
Knockout possibility: Slim
The equation: Need to win all three games, even two might suffice, though their progress wouldn’t be entirely in their hands. Buoyed no doubt by spinning the biggest upset yet in the World Cup, the path to the semifinal is boulder-strewn for the former champions.

They might be combating two teams that are already out of the World Cup, but it’s a demanding task for various reasons. Chiefly, they are still harangued by batting instability, yet to find their best batting order. Like the West Indies, the batsmen are predominantly mercurial. Angelo Mathews’ return to form portends promise, but they need more than the sum of their parts to launch a more serious knockout bid. They also have a rare Sri Lankan quandary they are without a half-decent spinner, and too much of their bowling is Lasith
Malinga-dependent.

Pakistan

Position: 7
Points: 5 from six games
Matches remaining: 3 (New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh)
Knockout possibility: improbable
The equation: Hell hath no fury than a scorned Pakistan side, but they have to not only win their remaining games by heavy margins to shore up their run-rate but also pray that other hopefuls lose their matches. Two of their games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh look straightforward, but beating New Zealand, who they meet next, could be the key. There s scope for optimism, as their batsmen are steadily regaining their groove.

World Cup teams out of contention:

West Indies: The nail-biter against New Zealand was their last chance to keep their hopes alive. But they will try to play party-poopers for other aspirants.

South Africa: The biggest disappointment of the World Cup, they never got their act together and apart from a win over Afghanistan, hardly looked to be in the mood.

Afghanistan: They were hardly expected to be semifinal contenders, but apart from running India close, their lack of big-game experience and cricketing nous was thoroughly exposed.

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