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CWC23: What PAK, NZ, AUS, and AFG needs to do to qualify for SF?

Having India and South Africa already secured their spots, the question remains: which two teams will claim the remaining Cricket World Cup semi-final berths?

In the current scenario, India and South Africa have qualified for the semi-final while 2 teams from Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, and Afghanistan can advance to the semi-final. Here’s how:


With one match to go against England, Pakistan has played a total of 8 matches. Win 4 and Lose 4, having a Net Run Rate (NRR) of 0.036 have bounced back to enter into the race for the semi-final. To reach the semi-final like always Pakistan has to rely on the other matches too even if they won against England. For instance, Pakistan, even with 10 points, could find itself outside the top four if New Zealand wins against Sri Lanka and secures a superior NRR, and if Australia manages to win one of their last two matches. Afghanistan could also pose a threat if they win their remaining two matches.

Pakistan's ideal scenario hinges on their victory against England, a victory for Sri Lanka against New Zealand, and Afghanistan losing their last two matches. Under these circumstances, Pakistan would secure qualification without the need for NRR calculations.

If New Zealand manages to defeat Sri Lanka, even by a narrow margin, Pakistan would be compelled to secure a convincing victory in their last match to surpass New Zealand in NRR. A favorable aspect for Pakistan is that they will play the second-to-last game in the league stage, which means they will have clarity on the exact requirements to secure their spot in the semi-finals.


Australia has two matches left, one against Afghanistan and another they have to play against Bangladesh. Currently, they played a total of 7 matches. Win 5 and Lose 2, having a Net Run Rate (NRR) of 0.924. Australia at the moment feels comfortable booking their slot in the semi-final after they win both of their remaining matches. For Afghanistan to surpass them, they would not only need to win both of their remaining matches but also surpass Australia's considerably superior Net Run Rate (NRR). Currently, there is a substantial gap, with Australia sitting comfortably at 0.924 compared to Afghanistan's -0.330.

If Australia loses both of their last two matches, then it again NRR will come into play. If Afghanistan defeats South Africa and New Zealand and Pakistan emerge victorious in their final matches, three teams - Australia, New Zealand, and Pakistan - might find themselves competing for a single spot. If Afghanistan loses, then four teams on 10 points could be fighting for two spots. Even there, Australia's healthy NRR should make them favorites to qualify.

If Pakistan and New Zealand lose their last games, then Australia will qualify with 10 points even if they lose their last two.

New Zealand:

Four defeats in their last four matches make it tougher for New Zealand to secure their berth into the semi-final. Currently, New Zealand has played eight matches with 4 wins and equal matches they lost. Pakistan’s win against NZ spoils the party for them. Even if they manage to win their final game against Sri Lanka, there’s a risk of missing out on a spot in the semis. This could occur if Australia defeats Bangladesh and Afghanistan secures victories in their last two matches. In such a scenario, four teams Pakistan, Australia, NZ, and Afghanistan would end up with 12 points.

The most favorable case for New Zealand would be to secure a win against Sri Lanka, hoping for Afghanistan to lose their last two matches and rely on England defeating Pakistan. Under these conditions, their 10 points would secure their semi-final berth without the need for NRR.

If both New Zealand and Pakistan emerge victorious in their last games, and Afghanistan also registers a win, the focus could shift to NRR among these three teams. At the moment, New Zealand holds a stronger NRR. Even if they were to beat Sri Lanka by just one run while scoring 300, Pakistan would need to defeat England by a margin of 130 runs (with the same total) to surpass them. So, a perfect situation for them but having said that there’s a chance for washing their last game against SL. The rain is forecasted throughout the week in Bengaluru where they have to play the last match of the first stage. In case of a washout, NZ finishes with nine points and they will rely on the results of Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s last match to lose to keep them at eight points each.


Afghanistan is in the driving seat and the only team in the current scenario that can finish with 12 points after the first stage if they win both their last two matches. The CWC 2023 is a big success for them. Before the start of CWC, it was in media from this side that “They’re here to play semi-final.” Afghanistan has played seven matches so far with 4 wins and 3 losses, having an NRR of -0.330. They still have to play two matches and both against the tough oppositions Australia and South Africa.

Despite a negative NRR a worrying sign for Afghanistan but most favorable chance of qualifying is that Pakistan and New Zealand lose their last matches against England and Sri Lanka respectively and they should win at least one of the two. In such a case, both Pakistan and New Zealand remain with eight points each while they will qualify for the semi-final with 10 points irrespective of NRR.

Images Courtesy: ICC

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