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Are defending champions England out of the World Cup?

And are table-toppers India in the semis yet? The answer to both: not quite!

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
26-Oct-2023
It's been a tournament of gloom for Jos Buttler and Co, but all is not lost yet  •  Associated Press

It's been a tournament of gloom for Jos Buttler and Co, but all is not lost yet  •  Associated Press

England have had an abysmal World Cup 2023 so far, losing four out of five games, the last of these a thrashing at Sri Lanka's hands, but thanks to the format of the tournament - where each of the 10 teams play the other nine before the semis - they still have a shot at making the top four. In fact, if they win their remaining four matches - a tall order admittedly, given their abject performances so far - and if other results go their way, they could even finish third with 10 points.
Here is one permutation to illustrate how that could happen:
  • New Zealand lose their remaining four matches and stay on eight.
  • India win three of their four games, losing only to England, while South Africa beat all teams except India. Then, India (16) and South Africa (14) will take the top two spots.
  • Australia beat New Zealand but lose their other matches, while Afghanistan beat Netherlands and Australia. Then both Australia and Afghanistan will finish on eight.
  • Sri Lanka beat New Zealand and Afghanistan, while Pakistan beat Bangladesh and New Zealand. Then Sri Lanka and Pakistan will finish on eight too.
  • England's 10 points will be enough for third place in this scenario, with five teams on eight fighting for the fourth spot.
Does that mean that Pakistan will remain in contention even if they lose to South Africa tomorrow?
It does. Pakistan currently have four points from five games, and if they lose on Friday, they too can only get up to 10 points. In fact, in the set of scenarios described above, if the result is reversed in the England vs Pakistan match on November 11 (the last league match for both teams), then Pakistan will take third spot on 10, while England will be one of five teams fighting for the fourth place on eight points.
What about India? Will they be guaranteed qualification if they beat England on Sunday?
A win on Sunday will maintain India's spotless record in the tournament, and take their points tally to 12 from six matches. However, while the above example illustrates how eight might be enough for qualification, it's also possible that 12 might not be sufficient. If India lose their remaining games and stay on 12, it's possible for five other teams to join them there. It'll then come down to net run rates.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats