Not too long ago, New Zealand appeared destined for a smooth passage to the semifinals of the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
The Black Caps started their campaign impressively, thrashing reigning champions England by 9 wickets in the tournament opener, and continued their winning streak with victories over the Netherlands, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. They secured four consecutive wins. However, their fortunes have taken a sharp downturn since then.
Their winning run came to an end with a four-wicket defeat against hosts India. It was followed by a heartbreaking loss to Trans-Tasman rivals Australia where they fell short by just 5 runs while chasing an improbable total of 389 runs. And in their last outing, they suffered a heavy defeat of 190 runs against South Africa.
New Zealand’s qualification scenario:
New Zealand currently holds the fourth spot in the points table, the last spot for semifinal qualification. Despite suffering three consecutive losses, they remain in contention for a spot in the semifinals. However, the path ahead won’t be easy. They can’t afford any more slip-ups in the competition, as another loss could jeopardize their chances of advancing beyond the league stage.
For sealing a spot in the semifinals for the third time in a row, the best scenario for New Zealand would be to win their remaining two games. If they beat Pakistan in their next game, it will dump the Men in Green out of the tournament and leave them in a good position.
Winning the remaining games will see them finish the league stage with 12 points. However, it would not guarantee them a spot in the next round as four other teams are also in contention to reach 12 points. In such a scenario, New Zealand would need to have a better net run rate than at least one of the other four teams (India, South Africa, Australia, and Afghanistan).
If they win one and lose one from this stage, they can still qualify based on a superior net run rate, as long as the four mentioned teams don’t accumulate more than 10 points.