World Cup scenarios: How can Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan qualify for semifinal?


Kane Williamson, Babar Azam and Hashmatullah Shahidi at
Image Source : GETTY Kane Williamson, Babar Azam and Hashmatullah Shahidi at World Cup 2023

World Cup 2023 is set to enter its last stages with each team having only one game to play for in the group stages. The defending champions England thrashed Netherlands by 160 wickets to end the latter’s memorable campaign and also jumped to seventh position in the points table to boost their bid for the ICC Champions Trophy 2024. 

With just five games to go, three teams (India, Australia and South Africa) have secured the semifinal qualification, four teams (England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan) are eliminated from the knockout race, and the three teams (New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan) are set to battle for the remaining semifinal berth.

So, let’s see how New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan can qualify for the last semifinal spot.

New Zealand:

Last edition’s New Zealand felt unlucky and heartbroken when they suffered a loss against Pakistan despite putting their biggest-ever World Cup total of 401 runs in their last game. Four straight defeats have significantly shattered their chances to secure the semifinal berth but they still remain in the fourth position and bolster a superior net run rate.

Kane Williamson-led side is facing Sri Lanka in their last game and a win will be enough for them to confirm a place in the semifinal due to an impressive net run rate. If they lose, then they need Pakistan and Afghanistan to lose their games as well. 

A threat of rain looms over the New Zealand vs Sri Lanka game in Bengaluru on November 9. So, if rain washes out the game then the Kiwis will earn a point and still need their competitors to lose their final respective games. With a better net run rate and considering the tough games for Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Blackcaps are favourites to secure the semifinal spot.


Pakistan are currently occupying the fifth position in the points table and have momentum on their side with two consecutive wins. They are facing England in their last game on November 11 and will fancy their chances at Eden Gardens. 

Babar Azam-led Pakistan need to win the game and by a considerable margin of runs as well. If they lose, then they need to pray for huge losses for Afghanistan and New Zealand to make the semifinal on the basis of net run rate. Pakistan will have a mental advantage of knowing projections as they play their last match after Afghanistan and New Zealand’s final fixtures.


Afghanistan are enjoying a historic campaign with four wins in eight games and almost pulled off another upset against Australia in their last game. Afghanistan maintain a negative net run rate and are facing the mighty South African side in their last game in Ahmedabad on November 10.

Considering all the upsets and Afghanistan’s performances against better-ranked teams, fans will not count them out of the race. However, Afghanistan need to register a considerably big win against South Africa which seems a tough task and also need Pakistan and New Zealand to lose their respective games.

World Cup 2023 Points Table after England vs Netherlands match no.40

Teams Matches played Won Lost Tied No Result Points Net Run Rate (NRR)
India 8 8 0 0 0 16 2.456
South Africa 8 6 2 0 0 12 1.370
Australia 8 6 2 0 0 12 0.861
New Zealand 8 4 4 0 0 8 0.398
Pakistan 8 4 4 0 0 8 0.036
Afghanistan 8 4 4 0 0 8 -0.338
England 8 2 6 0 0 4 -0.885
Bangladesh 8 2 6 0 0 4 -1.142
Sri Lanka 8 2 6 0 0 4 -1.160
Netherlands 8 2 6 0 0 4 -1.635

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