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New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan eye lone SF spot as NRR drama looms

With Pakistan beating New Zealand on Saturday and Australia winning their match against England on the same day, the race to the semifinals of the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is more interesting than ever.

Pakistan was down and out before they found the rhythm and defeated Bangladesh and New Zealand respectively to crawl back into the semifinal race of the World Cup.

India and South Africa both have qualified for the semifinals, hence the result of Sunday’s match has not affected the scenario for the other teams who are still eyeing for the two spots.

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Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands are in the running for the third and fourth spots. Australia seems to be in a strong position with 10 points from 7 games, likely securing a spot in the top four.

New Zealand has only one match left, and with 8 points currently, a win against Sri Lanka on Thursday would take them to 10 points. However, this would leave Sri Lanka with 6 points, assuming they win their match against Bangladesh, effectively eliminating them from the World Cup.

The Netherlands, while still mathematically in the competition, has a very slim chance of making it to the semifinals.

Afghanistan currently has 8 points, but their upcoming matches against Australia and South Africa will be crucial. If they manage to win both games, they will secure a spot in the semifinals. Otherwise, the Net Run Rate may come into play, involving Pakistan and New Zealand in the race.

Both New Zealand and Pakistan have 8 points each from 8 games. New Zealand’s last game is against Sri Lanka, while Pakistan will face England to conclude their league stage. If both teams win their respective matches, the Net Run Rate will be the determining factor.

The upcoming week promises to be an exciting one for fans, as there are numerous permutations and combinations to consider. The race for the semifinals is still wide open, and teams with a glimmer of hope will also be eager to seize their chances. 

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