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Feature

Women's World Cup 2022 scenarios: England stay in contention for semi-finals, New Zealand almost out

A look at what each team needs to do - and need other teams to do - to make the cut

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
20-Mar-2022
A dejected Katey Martin reacts after New Zealand's loss, New Zealand vs England, Women's World Cup 2022, Auckland, March 20, 2022

A dejected Katey Martin reacts after New Zealand lost to England by one wicket  •  Getty Images

England's nervy one-wicket win against New Zealand means they stay in contention for the semi-finals of Women's World Cup 2022, while New Zealand are almost out of it. With just nine more games to go in the group stage, only Australia have sealed their semi-final slot, while the rest are still involved in a tense struggle. Here is a look at what each team needs to do - and need other teams to do - to make the cut.

New Zealand

Played: 6, Points: 4, NRR: -0.229, Remaining match: vs Pakistan
New Zealand have lost three matches by extremely close margins: one wicket (against England), two wickets (South Africa) and three runs (West Indies). These three defeats mean the home team is on the brink of elimination. If England win their last two games - against the relatively weaker Bangladesh and Pakistan - then at least three teams will have more than six points, which is the maximum New Zealand can reach.
They would then have to hope that West Indies lose their last two matches - against Pakistan and South Africa - and stay on six with a poorer net run rate, and India lose their last two games too - against Bangladesh and South Africa - and stay on four points, as their NRR is currently much better than New Zealand's. (Even if New Zealand score 300 in their last game and win by 200 runs, their NRR will still only improve to 0.427, which is lower than India's current rate of 0.456.) In that case New Zealand could qualify as the fourth team, but at the moment they are clutching at straws.

England

Played: 5, Points: 4, NRR: 0.327, Remaining matches: vs Pakistan, Bangladesh
England had a disastrous start to the tournament, but with two games to go, they have an excellent chance of making the semi-finals. They have a couple of advantages going into the last week of the group stage: their two remaining opponents are the weaker teams, and their NRR is a relatively healthy 0.327 (which can increase further with convincing wins).
If they finish on eight points, they should be in a good position in an NRR battle. (India are currently marginally ahead on 0.456, but one of their remaining games is against South Africa, who haven't lost a match yet.)
For England to lose out even after winning their last two games, West Indies will have to win their last two matches and go up to ten points, and South Africa will have to beat Australia so that they move beyond eight as well. If India win their last two and stay above England on NRR, then England will be eliminated. They will be hoping that the weather stays clear in Christchurch and Wellington, allowing them the opportunity to look for four points and improve their NRR.
However, if they lose either of those matches (or if one is rained out), then they could struggle.

India

Played: 5, Points: 4, NRR: 0.456, Remaining matches: vs Bangladesh, South Africa
India are in a similar position as England in terms of points and run rate, but the one major difference is that one of their remaining games is against South Africa. India's best chance will be if they win their last two, and either South Africa or West Indies don't progress beyond eight points. That can happen if West Indies lose at least one of their two remaining matches, or if South Africa lose all three. Then, both India and England will qualify with eight points (if England win their last two as well), while West Indies/South Africa will be eliminated because of poorer NRRs.
Conversely, if West Indies win their last two, and if South Africa beat Australia, then three teams will finish on more than eight points. Then, even with wins in their two remaining games, India will be battling for the fourth spot with England (if they finish on eight as well).

South Africa

Played: 4, Points: 8, NRR: 0.226, Remaining matches: vs Australia, West Indies, India
Despite winning all four matches so far, South Africa still have some work to do to confirm a place in the semi-finals. That can happen if they win one more game and lift their points tally to ten.
However, their three remaining games are all tough ones. If they lose all three then they could well be eliminated, as West Indies could finish on ten points, and England and India could get eight with better net run rates.

West Indies

Played: 5, Points: 6, NRR: -0.930, Remaining matches: vs Pakistan, South Africa
West Indies are currently third on the points table, but their NRR of -0.930 is the worst among all teams in contention for the semi-finals. They will qualify if they win their two remaining matches, but if they lose one - and if England beat Pakistan and Bangladesh - then West Indies will have to hope that India lose at least one of their two remaining games and finish on no more than six points. Then West Indies will qualify, along with Australia, South Africa and England.

Bangladesh

Played: 4, Points: 2, NRR: -0.342, Remaining matches: vs India, Australia, England
Bangladesh can theoretically get to eight points, but their remaining matches are against some of the toughest teams in this competition.

Pakistan

Played: 4, Points: 0, NRR: -0.996, Remaining matches: vs West Indies, England, New Zealand
Pakistan too can qualify theoretically but having lost 18 successive matches in the 50-over World Cup, their immediate aim would be to stop it from extending to 21 by the end of this tournament.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats