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ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Semi-Final Race: How Pakistan, Australia's Wins Affect Final Four

Rain helped Pakistan emerge victorious over New Zealand, while Australia beat rivals England comfortably to take another big step towards the semi-finals. Here's how the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Play-off race is shaping up.

NZ vs PAK, World Cup 2023.
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The chips fell South Africa's way on Saturday, November 4, 2023, as the Proteas qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 semi-finals without having to play their latest match. Pakistan and Australia saw to it that no one from the chasing pack was matching South Africa's points total, enabling them to join hosts India as the only teams confirmed to be in the final four. (Points Table | Full Coverage)

India had become the first team to qualify for the semi-finals earlier in the week after their thumping win over Sri Lanka. The Men in Blue beat the Lankan Lions by a margin of more than 300 runs, recording their seventh victory on the bounce, and cruising into the playoffs where they can still meet one of six teams: Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands. 

Here's who can join India and South Africa in the semis - and how: 

Australia (10 points)

With two more games to go, Australia, currently placed third, need to win one more fixture to ensure a spot in the semis. Afghanistan and Bangladesh are their upcoming opponents; if they lose both their games, they will depend on favourable results of in other matches to see them through.

New Zealand (8 points)

New Zealand, currently fourth, don't have much of a choice now - following their fourth successive loss - and need a victory in their only remaining match against Sri Lanka. However, a victory does not guarantee the Blackcaps a spot in the semis any more, as they will also need Pakistan and Afghanistan to lose their remaining games.

Pakistan (8 points)

Pakistan are currently fifth and in a similar situation as New Zealand. A win against England by a big margin would help them through to the semis, but a loss means that they will need to rely on all the teams around them dropping maximum points - and losing big - to go through.

Afghanistan (8 points)

Afghanistan are sixth at the time of writing and with the simplest of tasks out of the teams involved in the semi-final race -- win their remaining matches against Australia and South Africa and they in the semis. If they lose the two games, however, they will be reliant upon Pakistan and New Zealand doing the same. 

Sri Lanka (4 points)

Seventh-placed Sri Lanka play Bangladesh and New Zealand next. Besides winning the two contests by significant margins, they must pray for the above-mentioned teams to lose their remaining games by big scores to have an outside chance of making it to the semis. One loss and they are out.

Netherlands (4 points)

Still in the semi-final race, the Netherlands have a near-improbable task ahead of them: they have to beat England and India by huge margins and hope the others lose by equally big scores. 

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