Black Caps can still make World Cup semi-finals

The Black Caps still have a great chance of making the Cricket World Cup semi-finals, despite...
The Black Caps still have a great chance of making the Cricket World Cup semi-finals, despite suffering their third straight loss last night to South Africa. Photo: Getty Images
After the hot start to Cricket World Cup 2023, the Black Caps suffered a third straight loss this morning in a heavy defeat to South Africa.

Gary Stead’s side now sit in fourth on the table on eight points with a chasing pack behind them. They’re not exactly at the point where they need other teams to do them favours but one more defeat and their destiny will be out of their hands.

Here’s how it looks heading into the final 10 days of round robin.

Battle for final semi-final spot

3rd) Australia 8 points (Net run rate 0.970)

Remaining games: England, Afghanistan, Bangladesh

4th) Black Caps 8 points (0.484)

Remaining games: Pakistan and Sri Lanka

5th) Pakistan 6 points (-0.024)

Remaining games: New Zealand, England

6th) Afghanistan 6 points (-0.718)

Remaining games: Netherlands, Australia, India

7th) Sri Lanka 6 points (-0.275)

Remaining games: India, Bangladesh, New Zealand

8th) Netherlands 6 points (-1.277)

Remaining games: Afghanistan, England, India

It looks like it could be a tight battle for that final semi-final spot with Australia likely to win out and sit pretty towards the top of the table with India and South Africa. That would leave a scrap for the fourth and final semifinal spot and just like 2019, when the Black Caps and Pakistan both finished on 11 points, it could well come down to Net Run Rate (NRR).

The Black Caps can make the Cricket World Cup semi-finals if...

Black Caps lose final two games

Funnily enough (though maybe not that funny to them) the Black Caps can lose their way into the semi-finals – with a 4-5 record. New Zealand could lose five straight and finish on eight points, and end up in a situation with three other teams tied with them.

They would need Pakistan and Sri Lanka to lose their other games and Afghanistan to at least lose two of their final three. So all would be left on the same points and it would come down to Net Run Rate. In this case, the Black Caps currently have the highest NRR but would need to have close defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who would also need to suffer bigger defeats in their other games.

Black Caps beat either Pakistan or Sri Lanka

A win over Pakistan or Sri Lanka would leave the Black Caps on 10 points (5-4 record). A win over Pakistan would be preferable as their Net Run Rate is closer to New Zealand’s, and the win would come sooner adding some relief for fans, and no doubt the players.

A defeat to Pakistan would still leave the door open but would mean the Black Caps would be keeping a close eye on other results.

Even if they lose to Pakistan and beat Sri Lanka, they might still need Pakistan to lose to England because it would come down to NRR.

Hosts India could do the Black Caps a favour and beat Sri Lanka tonight which would see their NRR fall even further back from New Zealand’s.

Black Caps beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka

A 6-3 record would see the Black Caps finish on 12 points, which could get them as high as second on the table. It still doesn’t guarantee a semi-final place as Afghanistan could chase them down with three wins if they have a better NRR, though seems unlikely as they face Australia and India in their final two games.

How does Net Run Rate work?

Simply put it’s the average runs scored per over by a team compared with the average runs per over scored against that team.