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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Race to the semifinals intensifies
Ten teams qualified to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, and only four teams will qualify for the semifinals after the round robin league. Most of the teams have played more than half of their scheduled matches, but the semifinal line up is not yet clear.

Here is an analysis of the chances of each team:

Afghanistan ? Matches 6    Won 0     Lost 6    Tie/NR 0     Points 0

Already eliminated as they have lost six matches in a row and even if they win their remaining matches, they can't qualify.

South Africa ? Matches 7    Won 1     Lost 5   Tie/NR 1     Points 3

Already eliminated with 3 points from 7 matches as even if they win their remaining matches, they can't qualify.

West Indies ? Matches 6    Won 1     Lost 4    Tie/NR 1     Points 3

This team started with a bang by dismissing Pakistan for a paltry 105. But then they faltered against quality opposition. They will rue their close defeats against New Zealand (By 5 runs) and Australia (By 15 runs). With 3 points from 6 games, they must win their remaining three matches against India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Then they must hope that Sri Lanka do not win more than one match, England do not win a single match, Bangladesh do not win more than one match and Pakistan do not win more than two matches.

A lot of permutation and combination here. While West Indies can win the remaining matches, there is bleak chance that other results will happen as they wish. Hence, I think West Indies will not qualify.

Bangladesh - ? Matches 6    Won 2     Lost 3    Tie/NR 1   Points 5

Bangladesh have won hearts by their performance so far. They beat South Africa and West Indies convincingly, although they lost to top teams like England, Australia and New Zealand. Their equation to qualify is simple. They just have to win their remaining matches against India, Afghanistan and Pakistan and hope England do not win more than one match and Pakistan do not win more than two matches.  

Since England have tough matches against India, Australia and New Zealand, it is possible that they might not win more than one match. Pakistan is highly inconsistent. So, Bangladesh have realistic chances if they win their last three matches.

I consider Bangladesh as the dark horse to qualify at 4th position.

Pakistan- ? Matches 6    Won 2     Lost 3    Tie/NR 1          Points 5

The current world cup has the same indications as 1992 for Pakistan. Down and pushed to a corner, Pakistan must win the remaining matches against Afghanistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh and hope for a lot of matches to go as per their liking. England must not win more than one match, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh must not win more than two matches and Pakistan winning all matches are the conditions for Pakistan to qualify.

It seems difficult. But since Pakistan are unpredictable, I consider them as dark horse like Bangladesh. Since these two teams will meet, both will not qualify. Either of them or none will qualify.

Sri Lanka ? Matches 6    Won 2     Lost 2    Tie/NR 2           Points 6

Sri Lanka does not need anyone's help to qualify. They can simply win their remaining matches against India, South Africa and West Indies and qualify. Losing any of the matches will almost close the door for them. Since all are tough matches, I don't think Sri Lanka will prevail.

England ? Matches 6    Won 4     Lost 2    Tie/NR 2             Points 8

Tournament favorite and hosts England lost to Pakistan and Sri Lanka quite unexpectedly. They have three tough assignments coming up against India, New Zealand and Australia. They must win at least two of them which is a difficult ask. We may see England eliminated before semifinals.

Even with one more win, England may qualify if other contenders falter. So, they are in a tricky situation. Using home advantage, their best bet is to win at least two of the three remaining matches.  

New Zealand ? Matches 6    Won 5     Lost 0    Tie/NR 1  Points 11

Unbeaten so far, New Zealand is leading the table at present with 11 points. Their remaining matches are against Australia, England and Pakistan. If they win any one of them, they are through.

I pick New Zealand to qualify.

Australia ? Matches 6    Won 5     Lost 1    Tie/NR 0           Points 10

The defending champions have been very consistent so far losing just one match out of six. Their remaining matches are against South Africa, New Zealand and England. They need to win just one match to qualify and I don't find any reason why they won't be successful.

I pick Australia to qualify.

India ? Matches 6    Won 4    Lost 0    Tie/NR 1    Points 9

Unbeaten so far like New Zealand, India have four matches to go against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, England and West Indies. Winning any two matches will seal semifinal berth.

India will qualify easily.

So, it follows that India, New Zealand and Australia are in strong positions to qualify. The fight for the 4th semifinal spot is between England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Considering the present form, I think England may just qualify ahead of the Asian contenders. Having said that, Pakistan may take inspiration from the fact that the omens in this world cup are like 1992 world cup which they won.

The race to semifinal already intensified. As cricket fans, we can' ask for more.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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