Sri Lanka’s 20-run win over England must count as the most unexpected result of the World Cup so far. More than that, it’s upset, or at least changed, some calculations. Just how much, we try and figure out.
Has the race for the semis been shaken up?
Not really. Though their win has brought Sri Lanka to within two points of England, they have just two wins compared to England’s four (two of Sri Lanka’s points have come from washouts). Since the first tie-breaker for teams joined on points is matches won, Sri Lanka need to go ahead of England on points. That means winning all their games or hoping England lose all of theirs. The rest of the pack are still quite far behind the top four and could be further behind once the Afghanistan v India match is over.
How does the loss affect England?
England remain third on the table with eight points for the time being. But their three remaining matches are tough ones, against Australia, India and New Zealand. They need to win two of those games to guarantee a spot in the semi-finals.
What happens if they win just one more game?
They are still fairly likely to make it through thanks to the number of wins – four – and their strong net run-rate. One more win will put them on ten points. So Sri Lanka will have to win all of their remaining games (or win two and tie one) to overtake them. Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan are all in the same position. They have to win all their games to reach 11 points. Even if one of the chasing pack manages to be flawless till the end of the group phase, England still have the hope that one of Australia, New Zealand or India will collapse and fail to reach 11 points.
Can England get in even if they don’t win any more games?
It’s possible, but they would really need luck to go their way in terms of other results: Sri Lanka shouldn’t win more than one more game, and no one else must reach nine points. Pakistan and Bangladesh are in fairly good positions to get there, though.
Where does the win leave Sri Lanka?
Their three remaining games are against South Africa, West Indies and India. Win two and they will be on ten points. They then have to hope that either England or New Zealand lose all their remaining games, or that India win just one more game, an unlikely scenario given India have five games left. The best chance for Sri Lanka is to win all of their remaining games. It still doesn’t guarantee them a place in the semi-finals as there are result permutations that would leave the current top four each on 12 points or more, but it would give them a shot.
Do the rest of the chasing pack benefit in any way?
They do, but they still have a lot of work to do. The best hope for Bangladesh, Pakistan and West Indies is that England lose all their remaining games and that Sri Lanka win no more than one game. That would leave those two on eight points. Bangladesh then have to win two of their remaining games, which are against Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Pakistan and West Indies will have to win three games each. England losing could lead to some fun scraps as West Indies and Sri Lanka still have to play each other, as do Bangladesh and Pakistan.
And what about South Africa?
This result does kind of bring them back into the mix, but they are going to need other results to go their way, while also winning all of their games. They have to hope England lose all their games and Sri Lanka win no more than one. But it still doesn’t guarantee them anything. They have also got to hope no one else reaches nine points with a better net run-rate.
So who outside the top four has the best chance?
Apart from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan have benefitted most. Both have good shots of making it to nine points, if not 11. Bangladesh would have to beat Afghanistan and Pakistan or India. Pakistan would have to beat either South Africa or New Zealand and then win their last two games, against Afghanistan and Bangladesh. But remember, nine points is only enough if England lose all their games from he