Can West Indies still qualify for the World Cup?
The World Cup Qualifier has now moved to the Super Six stage, which means six teams will be fighting for two spots up for grabs for the World Cup in India later this year.
However, all six teams don’t start as equals in the Super Six; Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe take four points into that stage, based on wins against the two other teams which have qualified from their respective groups.
Netherlands and Scotland have two points each, which brings us to the major talking point going into the Super Six: can West Indies, currently on zero points, still finish in the top two and qualify for the World Cup?
Going by how they have batted, bowled, and, especially, fielded in the tournament so far, you’d have to say no, but mathematically they are still in with a chance.
Even if they lose to Oman or Sri Lanka and finish with four points, it’s still possible for them to be tied with four other teams, fighting for the second spot on net run rates.
However, that isn’t the route they would want to take.
Victories in their three matches will give them the best chance of qualification, but even then, they will be at the mercy of several other results going in their favour.
First, they will have to hope that both Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe lose at least two of their three games; if they win two of their three games, they will both move to eight points, guaranteeing qualification.
Even if either of these two teams, or any of the others, finish on six points, West Indies will have to ensure they finish ahead on net run rate.
On that parameter, Sri Lanka are far ahead (2.698), owing to their thumping win against Oman, when they chased down a target of 99 with 35 overs to spare. (Only the result margins against the two other teams that qualified are used for NRR calculations.
So Zimbabwe’s 304-run demolition of USA won’t count.) A very faint silver lining for West Indies is that their NRR didn’t suffer when they lost to the Netherlands via the one-over eliminator.
Therefore, they are ahead of Netherlands and Oman on that aspect.
West Indies could still qualify without NRR coming into the equation if, for example, Zimbabwe lose all their Super Six games, Sri Lanka lose to West Indies and win their other two matches, Oman win two, and Scotland and Netherlands win one each.
Then Sri Lanka will finish on eight points, West Indies on six, and the others on four each.
On the other hand, if Zimbabwe win all their games and Sri Lanka lose theirs, then Zimbabwe and West Indies could finish as the top two.
However, if West Indies lose to Scotland on Saturday, they will be eliminated for sure, as at least two teams will surely finish with at least six points.
The champions of 1975 and 1979 will need all the stars and net run rates to align in their favour even to contest the 2023 crown. (ESPNcricinfo)