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Tuesday June 25, 2024

ICC World Cup: Who’s in, who could be out

By AFP
March 25, 2023

PARIS: India and defending champions England are definitely in but former winners West Indies as well as South Africa and Sri Lanka could face a long, arduous road to reach the 2023 World Cup.

AFP Sport looks at who needs what to make the global showpiece being staged in India in October and November. Seven teams have so far booked their places at the 10-team tournament. These are India (hosts) as well as England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have come through the Super League after each winning 11 or more of their games.

That leaves one place, currently occupied by West Indies, remaining from the Super League with the last two places to be filled by the best two sides at a 10-team qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in June and July.

Sri Lanka, South Africa and Ireland still have a chance to snatch that eighth qualifying spot but Zimbabwe and Netherlands are out of the running. West Indies, world champions in 1975 and 1979, are currently eighth in the Super League and hold the final qualifying spot. However, they have played all of their 24 games and won just nine, leaving them with 88 points.

They have no further games to play and can be ousted by South Africa, Sri Lanka or Ireland. To qualify via this route West Indies effectively need Sri Lanka to lose their series with New Zealand, which starts Saturday, Netherlands to upset South Africa next week and Bangladesh to avoid a whitewash against Ireland in May.

Position: 8th, Points: 88 (Net run rate: -0.738), Matches to play: 0, Maximum points: 88. Of the big sides still sweating, South Africa are breathing easiest. The Proteas are currently ninth in the table but have two games left to play against bottom side Netherlands.

Winning both of those matches would put South Africa eighth and into the World Cup – so long as Sri Lanka do not win 3-0 in New Zealand. One victory would put South Africa level on points with the West Indies, who currently have a better net run rate.

However, they would still need Sri Lanka to win no more than one game against the Kiwis and for the Irish to win only two of their three games against Bangladesh, while maintaining a worse net run rate.

Position: 9th, Points: 78 (NRR -0.410), Matches to play: 2, Maximum points: 98. Sri Lanka, the 1996 winners, are in the enviable position of having qualification in their own hands. A 3-0 win in New Zealand will give them eighth spot regardless of how anyone else gets on.

Position: 10th, Points: 77 (NRR -0.094), Matches to play: 3, Maximum points: 107 Ireland need everything to go their way, notably winning their three-match series against Bangladesh which will be played at Chelmsford, England in May, the final matches in the Super League.

Even that might not be enough to go through. They need South Africa to slip up against the Dutch and the Sri Lankans to lose at least one match in New Zealand.

Position: 11th, Points: 68 (NRR -0.382), Matches to play: 3, Maximum points: 98.

For the teams who miss out, there is a final chance to make it to India as one of the two best from a 10-team qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe.

The hosts and Netherlands are already in the mix for this. The five who come down from the Super League will be joined by Scotland, Oman and Nepal who were the top three teams in World Cup League 2 plus two others still to be decided.

These final two will be settled in Namibia next week in a League 2 repechage when the hosts will be joined in a play-off competition by Papua New Guinea, UAE, USA, Jersey and Canada.