Feature

Qualification scenarios: Who needs to do what to make the Women's World Cup semi-finals

Australia have qualified already, with South Africa, India, England and West Indies still in contention

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
22-Mar-2022
If South Africa beat West Indies, that would be handy for India  •  AFP via Getty Images

If South Africa beat West Indies, that would be handy for India  •  AFP via Getty Images

Losses for South Africa and West Indies in their most recent matches and India's comfortable win against Bangladesh means there are three semi-final places - Australia have already qualified - remain up for grabs with six matches to go in the league stage. Here is a look at how the teams stack up, and what they need to do to qualify.
India
Played: 6, Points: 6, NRR: 0.768, Remaining match: vs South Africa
India's convincing win against Bangladesh has not only lifted their points tally to six, but also pushed their net run rate (NRR) to a healthy 0.768, which is easily the best among all the teams in contention. That means India's fortunes now rest in their own hands: if they beat South Africa on Sunday, then they qualify for sure, regardless of other results. Even if India beat South Africa by just one run after scoring 225, their NRR will be 0.656. Neither South Africa nor West Indies can match that if it comes down to NRR.
If South Africa beat West Indies on Thursday, India can qualify even if they lose to South Africa and stay on six points. In that case, India, West Indies and New Zealand will all be on six points with England on eight, assuming New Zealand beat Pakistan and England win their last two games. India's NRR should be enough to see them prevail over West Indies and New Zealand. For instance, if India, chasing 251, lose by 100 runs, and New Zealand score 300 and win by 150, then India's NRR will be 0.363, and New Zealand's 0.272.
However, if South Africa lose to West Indies but beat India, then Australia, England, South Africa and West Indies could all finish on more than India's six points.
South Africa
Played: 5, Points: 8, NRR: 0.092, Remaining matches: vs West Indies, India
West Indies' defeat against Pakistan means South Africa should be through unless they suffer big defeats in their last two games. That is because West Indies can only get to a maximum of eight points, and among the five who can get there, their NRR will probably be the worst.
For South Africa to be knocked out, they will have to lose their last two games by huge margins. If, say, they lose by a combined margin of 200 runs, with West Indies beating them by 100, then South Africa's NRR will slip to -0.509, and West Indies' will lift to -0.417. However, if the margins aren't so big, then South Africa will still qualify as the fourth team behind Australia, India and England (if England win their last two) despite losing both their remaining matches.
West Indies
Played: 6, Points: 6, NRR: -0.885, Remaining match: vs South Africa
For West Indies to qualify, they will have to beat South Africa, who will in turn have to beat India. In that case, India get eliminated, and Australia, South Africa, England - assuming they win their last two - and West Indies qualify.
West Indies' NRR is so poor that they will have no chance of qualifying with six points.
England
Played: 5, Points: 4, NRR: 0.327, Remaining matches: vs Pakistan, Bangladesh
Two wins for England against the relatively weaker Bangladesh and Pakistan will confirm their qualification for the semi-final, given that their NRR is already impressive at 0.327. If they don't take the full four points, though, then South Africa, India and West Indies could all finish ahead of them.
Even if Bangladesh or Pakistan pull off an upset win, England's NRR will still give them a good chance of qualifying if West Indies lose to South Africa and stay on six points.
New Zealand
Played: 6, Points: 4, NRR: -0.229, Remaining match: vs Pakistan
As mentioned earlier, even a 150-run win against Pakistan in their last match will only improve New Zealand's NRR to 0.272, which will almost certainly be below that of India's even if India lose their last game. With England's NRR much higher too, New Zealand's only chance is if South Africa beat West Indies, and England get no more than one point from their last two games. (Or if England get to six points with both their matches rained out, as the number of wins takes precedence over NRR if teams are level on points.) For all practical purposes, New Zealand can consider their home campaign over.
Bangladesh and Pakistan have both had their moments in the tournament, but they are languishing on two points with poor NRRs. Given the quality of opposition they are up against, neither team has a realistic chance of going further in the tournament.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats