@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Cricket World Cup Super League, with six teams in action across three continents.
As expected, albeit with a couple of scares, India and Pakistan both completed clean sweeps over Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, while West Indies succumbed 2-1 to New Zealand in a close-fought series. West Indies claimed the first after bowling the Black Caps out for 191, but couldn’t get over the line despite opportunities in each of the final two games.
West Indies have now become the first team to complete their entire Cricket World Cup Super League campaign, picking up nine wins and dropping a couple of penalty points for a slow over-rate. They sit sixth with 88 points, but are unlikely to stay there for long. The top seven non-host teams will qualify automatically for the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
With every team now having completed at least half of their fixtures, it has become much clearer who will need what to qualify automatically for the Cricket World Cup. West Indies’ 88 points could be, but probably won’t be enough. England are the only team (other than India, the hosts) to have secured qualification, with 125 points, as long as no unwanted deductions come their way. As it stands, the magical number is 123 points, one more than Sri Lanka can achieve, and out of reach for West Indies, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Netherlands too.
Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia and New Zealand are all nearly safe, but some are safer than others. Each has broken the 100-point barrier, and each needs only a handful of wins to book their place in India, unless both South Africa and Sri Lanka go on unlikely winning streaks. Bangladesh and Pakistan each need one win from six games, New Zealand two from 12, Afghanistan three from 12, and Australia three from nine. The first three will expect to do enough, and indeed may already have done enough.
Afghanistan have series against India, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to play. Struggles in the first three aren’t impossible, but the games against Sri Lanka will be 20-pointers. One win against Sri Lanka, and one win elsewhere will be enough for the Afghans. Australia face Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe next week, with a clean sweep enough to guarantee their World Cup place. They will also face Afghanistan away and New Zealand at home.
The final qualification spot is likely to come down to a tussle between South Africa and Sri Lanka. After forfeiting their series to Australia, South Africa have eight games left, two yet-to-be-arranged fixtures against the Netherlands after a tour was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, a home series against England, and an away series against India. They currently have 49 points, meaning four wins, with no points deductions, would see them overtake West Indies.
Sri Lanka have 62 points and series away to New Zealand and at home to Afghanistan to play. They need three wins to overtake West Indies. Assuming no points deductions, South Africa need two more wins than Sri Lanka to finish ahead of them. Given they play two more games than Chris Silverwood’s side, their destiny is in their hands.
West Indies and Ireland will be ready to pounce if either South Africa or Sri Lanka slip up significantly. If Ireland clean sweep their home series against Bangladesh next summer, they will finish on 98 points.