Dubai: The Cricket World Cup 2019 is in its home stretch and despite 40 group matches held so far, and another five to go, there are still two semi-final spots up for grabs.
Australia and India have confirmed their berths in the last four stage and Bangladesh, after losing to India last night, Sri Lanka, West Indies, South Africa and Afghanistan are out of the World Cup.
That leaves three teams, New Zealand (11 points), England (10) and Pakistan (9), contesting for the remaining two slots, and their fans are awaiting anxiously to know the outcome of today’s contest.
With all three teams having to play one more match, and being only minutes away from the start of the eagerly awaited clash between England and New Zealand at Chester-le-Street, let’s take a look at the possible scenarios that can unfold over the next few hours (the scenarios are discussed in the order of points table):
If New Zealand beat England: The Kane Williamson-led team, who were cruising along before a wobble when they lost two successive games to Pakistan and Australia that stalled their progress, will move up to 11 points and England will remain on 10 points. Now the onus will be on Pakistan to beat Bangladesh on Friday to book a place in the semi-finals. While it will be a virtual quarter-final for Sarfaraz Ahmad’s team, Bangladesh will be playing only for pride.
England win today: The hosts regained their winning momentum and inflicted the first defeat on India in their previous encounter and reclaimed the world No. 1 ranking from the Men in Blue. With their confidence high, England will be eager to defeat New Zealand and if they manage to achieve that, then they will move to 12 points, third on the points table behind India. So should that happen, Pakistan will be facing a bigger task of not only defeating Bangladesh, but also needing to increase their run rate as both the Black Caps and the Men in Green will be level on the number of wins and points.
Pakistan must win: Whether England win or not or New Zealand win or not, it’s paramount for Pakistan to beat Bangladesh, in a nutshell their destiny lies in their own hands at that point of time. Should Pakistan lose to Bangladesh in the final game, the top four from the current standings will sail through to the semi-finals.