How Nepal or Bermuda could beat USA to the 2014 WC Qualifiers
With the last round of games left in the World Cricket League Division 3, four teams have a theoretical chance of taking the two places which are up for grabs for the 2014 World Cup Qualifier. Uganda have won all four games and are already through with eight points, but USA (six points), Nepal and Bermuda (four each) will need to wait for the last round of matches. Here's what the teams need to do to qualify:
USA: With three wins and six points, USA have a pretty good chance of making it to the next stage. A win against Bermuda, their last-round opponent, will certainly see them through; even a defeat might not cost them since their net run rate is a healthy +0.690. Their biggest danger is if they lose fairly comprehensively to Bermuda, and if Nepal thrash Italy by a huge margin. For example, if Bermuda score 250 and beat USA by 100 runs, and if Nepal score 275 and win by 76 runs, then USA's NRR (net run rate) will slip to 0.345, and Nepal's will climb up to 0.348.
Nepal: Nepal were the pre-tournament favourites, but they've lost two matches, to USA and Uganda, leaving them with fairly slim chances of qualification. As mentioned earlier, if USA win their last game, then Nepal have no chance of making the next stage. For Nepal to qualify, they'll have to hope that USA lose to Bermuda, and they beat Italy by a comprehensive margin. If the sum of the margins of those wins is around 125 runs (the exact margins will depend on the actual scores), then Nepal could sneak ahead of USA on NRR.
Bermuda: Bermuda have four points too, with wins over Oman and Italy, but their NRR of -0.959 is much worse than Nepal's -0.014, which makes their chances of qualification extremely remote. Also, their last match is against USA, the team which is currently second on the table. They'll have to beat USA by around 160 runs to increase their NRR above USA's. Their best case scenario will probably be a consolation victory to end their campaign on a high. That's a result which could then benefit Nepal, if they beat Italy by a big enough margin.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter