Following the unexpected exit of two-time champions West Indies from the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Scotland, and Netherlands have emerged as the remaining contenders for the two qualifying spots for the 50-over ODI World Cup event in India, set to begin on October 5 at Ahmedabad.
Sri Lanka, unbeaten in the competition thus far, stands in a strong position with six points from three Super Six games. They can secure qualification for the World Cup by defeating Zimbabwe in their upcoming match on Sunday. Even if they face a defeat, Sri Lanka still has a chance to qualify by winning their last Super Six game against West Indies on July 7. Sri Lanka also boasts an impressive net run rate of 1.832, adding to their advantage.
Zimbabwe, like Sri Lanka, has also won all their games so far, accumulating six points. However, their net run rate of 0.752 leaves them in a potentially precarious situation, as even a victory against Sri Lanka on Sunday may not guarantee their qualification. A loss to Scotland in their final game could potentially knock Zimbabwe out of the competition.
Scotland, with four points from three games, significantly boosted their chances of qualification with a crucial win over West Indies. Their path to qualifying hinges on winning their remaining two matches and relying on Sri Lanka to defeat Zimbabwe on Sunday. If Zimbabwe manages to win against Sri Lanka, then Sri Lanka, Scotland, and Zimbabwe could finish on eight points, requiring the net run rate to come into play. With a net run rate of 0.188, Scotland finds themselves in a must-win situation in their upcoming match against Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
Netherlands, with two points from three games, faces an uphill battle to secure qualification. They will need substantial victories in their remaining matches against Oman and Scotland. Ideally, they would prefer Sri Lanka to secure qualification, resulting in a three-way battle between themselves, Zimbabwe, and Scotland. However, their net run rate of -0.560 is the lowest among the four teams, making their task even more challenging.
The remaining matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers promise to be intense battles as Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Scotland, and Netherlands vie for the coveted qualifying spots. With each team having a different set of circumstances, the outcome of these matches will determine which nations will have the opportunity to compete in the ODI World Cup in India later this year.