It's a four-way battle for the last two Champions Trophy spots

It's a four-way battle for the last two Champions Trophy spots

As we approach the final matches of the league phase of the ODI World Cup 2023, the main focus is obviously on the top four spots. But that’s for the top six teams. Otherwise, the race to finish in the top eight and qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy is underway. Six teams, those with eight or more points, have already secured their places. That includes Pakistan, which would have made the cut as hosts anyway. Below is where the other four are located.

Played 7; Points 4; RNR -1,398
Remaining matches: vs England and India

If the Netherlands wins its last two games and finishes in eight, it will ensure qualification. If they beat England and lose to India, they will end up with six matches, which Sri Lanka and Bangladesh can match if they win their only remaining matches. Then it will come down to net execution rates, an aspect that may not favor the Netherlands. His NRR is currently -1.398; even if they beat England by 100 runs (after scoring 300), they would only improve to -0.955. The margins of the other results will determine which two teams advance.

If the Netherlands lose their two remaining games, they will have difficulty qualifying. Even if the other three teams lose their remaining matches and are left with four points, it could be difficult for the Netherlands to finish with a higher NRR than two of those teams. Then everything will come down to profit margins.

Played 7; Points 2; RNR -1,504
Remaining matches: vs Netherlands and Pakistan

The defending champions have had a horror campaign, but with qualification for the Champions Trophy on the line, there is still something to play for. But even if they win their last two matches, they will need some help from other teams as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh could also tie them on six points if they win their last matches. England’s NRR is currently abysmal (-1.504), so they will not just need wins, but wins by significant margins.

If England lose to the Netherlands, they will have to beat Pakistan and hope that Sri Lanka and Bangladesh lose their final matches and take four points. Then it will come down to the NRR between England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for one place.

Sri Lanka
Played 8; Points 4; RNR -1,160
Remaining match: vs New Zealand

Sri Lanka’s best bet is to beat New Zealand and then hope that at most only one other team joins them with six. (In theory, all four teams can finish with six, if England wins the last two, Bangladesh beats Australia and Netherlands beats India.) Given their relatively healthy NRR, a win should put Sri Lanka in a reasonably strong position.

If they lose to New Zealand, they will have to hope that other results go their way and that two other teams do not add six points.

Played 8; Points 4; TRN -1,142
Remaining match: vs Australia

Bangladesh are in a similar position to Sri Lanka, but their NRR is currently the best among the four teams fighting for the bottom two spots. Like Sri Lanka, their best bet will also be to beat Australia and finish with six points. If they finish with four points, they will not be out of the game, but many other results will have to go their way.

S Rajesh is statistics editor at ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats