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March 18, 2009
England are already assured of their place in the World Cup final, but could yet play any of three sides. New Zealand are in pole position, but if they slip up either Australia or India could sneak in. There's all to play for in the final Super Six matches on Thursday and here is a run down of what each side needs to do - or the favours they need to hope for.
New Zealand v Pakistan
A place in the final is in New Zealand's hands. If they beat Pakistan they will join England in the showpiece conclusion and everything suggests they shouldn't have too many problems. The strength of the New Zealand side - who have been beaten only by England - far outweighs what Pakistan have available but the underdogs showed some fight against Australia in their last outing.
New Zealand enter the match buoyed by a hard-fought victory against India where they chased down 208 with 14 balls to spare. Kate Pulford was the star taking two wickets before anchoring the chase with an unbeaten 71. A New Zealand defeat would be a huge surprise but it would offer their arch rivals, Australia, a glimmer of hope
Australia v England
There is no such thing as a dead clash between these two teams, but Australia have been left relying on Pakistan to do them a huge favour. Their defeats to India and New Zealand earlier this week have proved very costly and left them facing the prospect of missing the final of their own World Cup. Yet, like any Australian side, they won't give up until it's impossible to progress.
They could take inspiration from the men's campaign in the 1999 World Cup in England when they appeared to be heading out on numerous occasions, but hung on at every turn and eventually won the tournament. Australia's one priority here is to beat England so that if New Zealand slip up they are in a position to pounce. If that happens both will end on six points but Australia would have a better net run-rate and go through.
India v West Indies
India are also clinging on by their fingertips to hopes of a final berth. Run rate is in their favour as they have a better calculation than New Zealand and are only marginally behind Australia, but need both those sides to lose if they are to stand any chance of progressing.
At least they shouldn't have many problems getting over West Indies, who have won just one match in the tournament. Everything else, though, is out of their hands.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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