ICC World Cup 2023: Can Afghanistan enter semifinals? Here’s what happens to points table if Australia is defeated today

The promising cricket side of Afghanistan, which entered into the ICC World Cup 2023 as an underdog, is on the cusp of entering the tournament’s semifinals. The Hashmatullah Shahidi-led team has pushed Australia to the backfoot in the ongoing match in Mumbai.

At the time of writing this report, Australia were at 52/4 at the end of first powerplay (10 overs), chasing a significantly big target of 292. The Afghan pacers dominated the game so far, with Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai picking up two wickets each.

Track live score and updates of Australia vs Afghanistan World Cup match

Can Afghanistan enter the semifinals?

The prospects of Afghanistan qualifying into the semifinals are strong, as the team’s fate lies in its own hands. It has to defeat Australia in this game, followed by South Africa in its next and final league stage match.

While Afghanistan has 8 cumulative points in the tournament so far – the same as New Zealand and Pakistan – the team is ranked behind them at the sixth position due to a weaker net run rate of minus (-) 0.33.

Here’s how the points table currently looks:

India – 16 (2.5)
South Africa – 12 (1.4)
Australia – 10 (0.9)
New Zealand – 8 (0.4)
Pakistan – 8 (0.04)
Afghanistan –  8 (-0.33)
Bangladesh – 4 (-1.1)
Netherlands – 4 (-1.4)
England – 2 (-1.5)

Both, New Zealand and Pakistan, have one game left from here. Even if they win their respective matches, their points would increase to 10 each.

On the other hand, the Afghan side can reach the 10 point-mark if they defeat Australia today. This victory will straight away take Afghanistan to the top 4 of the points table.

However, due to their weaker net run rate, they are bound to come down if New Zealand defeat Sri Lanka in their final fixture on November 9, or Pakistan defeat England in its next and final bout on November 11.

Therefore, Afghanistan will have to defeat Australia today, and win against South Africa in their next match on November 10, to qualify for the semifinals, analysts noted.

Notably, India and South Africa, with 16 points and 12 points respectively, have sealed their spots in the semifinals. The contest is for the remaining two positions. While Australia – at 10 points currently – are the favourites to secure the third spot, they would need to win against Bangladesh if end up losing to Afghanistan today.

If the Aussies end up losing today, as well as Bangladesh in their next and final match, then the doors of semifinals would open wider for either New Zealand or Pakistan, experts noted.

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Updated: 07 Nov 2023, 07:54 PM IST

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