@ovshake42 3 minute read
Afghanistan’s win in Kandy took them a step closer to a 2023 World Cup berth. At the same time, it ensured Sri Lanka did not break away from South Africa in the Cricket World Cup Super League table.
Before explaining which teams stands where, let us understand what the league is about, and what’s at stake here. Like in the 2019 tournament, there will be 10 teams (an appallingly low count for a tournament with ‘World’ in its name – but that’s another topic altogether) competing in the 2023 World Cup.
As hosts, India have qualified directly for the tournament. Despite that, matches involving India are part of the 2020-23 Cricket World Cup Super League, for these matches will determine the fate of their oppositions. Of the next nine teams in the league, seven will qualify directly, while the others will have to play in next year’s World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.
It is important to remember that every team will play 24 matches (three-match series against eight teams). They will earn 10 points for a win and five for an abandoned match, and will lose points for slow over rates.
With 129 points, India are at the top of the table – but as already mentioned, they would have qualified anyway. England (125), Australia (120), Bangladesh (120), and Pakistan (120) have also qualified even before the two ongoing series began in New Zealand and Sri Lanka. New Zealand’s seven-wicket win against India in Auckland also took them to 120 points – enough for qualification given where the teams below them stand. What about the others?
Afghanistan (110 points in 13 matches)
A 60-run win against Sri Lanka in Kandy has taken Afghanistan to 110. They need 10 points (a win or two abandoned matches) to ensure a top-eight spot. Even if they lose both matches, they will get three more series (nine matches) – against Pakistan and Australia in March, and India after that.
It will take a near-miracle for them to not secure 10 points from 11 matches. Them topping the league is perhaps not as improbable as some may assume.
West Indies (88 points in 24 matches)
With 88 points, the West Indies are still clinging on to that eighth spot – but they are done with their 24 matches, and can do little but hope none of those beneath them go past them. Their nearest rivals, Ireland, are on 68 points, but Sri Lanka and South Africa – the greater threats – are not far behind.
Ireland (68 points in 21 matches)
Ireland, 68, have a lone series left in Bangladesh in May. They need to win at least two matches to go past the West Indies (88) – they are ahead of them on net run rate (-0.382 to -0.738) – but Sri Lanka and South Africa have more matches left.
Sri Lanka (62 points in 19 matches)
After the ongoing series against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka will tour New Zealand in March. They are on 62 points, so they need a minimum of 27 – in other words, three wins in five matches – to go past the West Indies. But even that may not suffice, as South Africa are hot on their heels…
South Africa (59 points in 15 matches)
With 59 points, South Africa are 11th in the league, with an abysmal (-0.458) net run rate. Yet, there is some hope, as they have five matches left, even after forfeiting the three-match series against Australia. Three of them will be against England at home, and they will be in the hunt for automatic qualification if they can win a couple of matches. They will back themselves to win both matches against the Netherlands, who will return in March to finish the tour they had left incomplete in 2021 due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
To put things simply, South Africa are three points behind Sri Lanka. Both teams have the same number of matches left.
Zimbabwe (45 points in 21 matches) and the Netherlands (25 in 19)
Zimbabwe (45, three matches left) and the Netherlands (25, five matches left) will not be able to go past the eighth-placed West Indies (88), and will thus have to play the Qualifier.