Afghanistan’s dramatic loss against Australia keeps others' World Cup dreams alive

Afghanistan's heart-wrenching defeat to Australia has kept the World Cup dreams of the other three top contenders alive. New Zealand, Pakistan, and Afghanistan each have one more match remaining in the competition.

Johnson Gomez D
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Afghanistan (Source: Twitter)

Afghanistan’s heart-shattering loss against Australia may have put their semi-final hopes in jeopardy but it has put the other teams in contention for the fourth spot in a better place and Afghanistan has no one else to blame for it rather than themselves. Having Australia 7 down for 91 after putting up a decent total of 291 runs, Afghanistan let the match slip because of their poor fielding and tactical blunders.

The 5-time champions were on the verge of a humiliating defeat after but the big show Glenn Maxwell stood between Afghanistan and Australia’s defeat. Maxwell went on to score a double century and took Australia home on one leg as he couldn’t even run during the later stages of his innings due to cramps. 

Now after losing their last match Afghanistan has 8 points in 4 matches which is similar to New Zealand and Pakistan. Now Afghanistan’s qualification in the knockouts is dependent on the results of other teams. Now it goes like this:

- If one of the 3 teams wins their last league match, then the winning team will qualify for the semis and the other 2 teams will be eliminated.

- If 2 of the 3 teams win their last league matches, then the NRR will be the determining factor on who will qualify for the semi-finals. At this point, New Zealand has the superior NRR of +0.398. 

- If New Zealand wins by even 1 run, then Pakistan will have to beat Sri Lanka by 130+ runs and Afghanistan will have to beat South Africa by 266+ runs to surpass New Zealand to reach the semis (assuming that all the teams bat first).

- If Afghanistan loses by 1 run, then they would require Pakistan to lose their match against England by 136+ runs and New Zealand to lose their match against Sri Lanka by 266+ runs assuming that all the teams are chasing 300 runs.

- If New Zealand loses their last match and both Pakistan and Afghanistan emerge victorious in their respective matches, Afghanistan would be required to secure a victory with a margin of over 140 runs, provided that Pakistan narrowly defeats England by just one run after setting a 300-run target in their innings. Pakistan's final league game takes place after both New Zealand and Afghanistan have concluded theirs, giving them the advantage of being aware of the precise scenario.

How will Afghanistan’s defeat affect the Netherlands?

The Netherlands found themselves in an unexpectedly favourable position following Australia's victory at the Wankhede Stadium. This win, at least in theory, keeps their hopes alive. However, if any of Afghanistan, New Zealand, or Pakistan secures a win in their last league match, the Netherlands' fate is sealed, regardless of their performance against England and India.

The only path for the Netherlands to qualify is to defeat both England and India, while simultaneously relying on Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Pakistan to all finish with eight points each. It's worth noting that for this scenario to work, the Netherlands would require a significant victory to boost their Net Run Rate into positive territory.

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