New Zealand's convincing five-wicket triumph over Sri Lanka, achieved with a substantial 160 balls to spare, has significantly elevated their Net Run Rate (NRR) to +0.743, virtually securing them a spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
The victory positions New Zealand as one of the top four teams alongside India, South Africa, and Australia, sealing their semi-final berth. India, currently topping the points table, will face South Africa and Australia in the semi-final on November 16 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
The outcome of the semi-final stage is unlikely to change unless there are unforeseen dramatic developments. New Zealand's potential fourth-place finish makes them the probable opponents for India, although Pakistan retains an outside chance of securing the final spot in the knockout stages with a substantial victory over England in their last group match.
Pakistan faces a challenging equation to reach the semi-finals after New Zealand's significant win. If they bat first, they need to win by a margin of at least 287 runs. If they are chasing, they need to dismiss England for 50 runs and chase the target in two overs or 100 runs in three overs, scenarios that seem highly improbable.
Afghanistan's odds are even slimmer, given their lower net run rate compared to Pakistan. They face South Africa in Ahmedabad on Friday.
If the current standings persist, India is set to play against New Zealand in Mumbai on November 15, with South Africa and Australia meeting on the next day in Kolkata. However, if Pakistan surpasses New Zealand and finishes in fourth place, the clash between India and Pakistan will move to Kolkata on Thursday, and the match between South Africa and Australia will shift to Mumbai a day earlier, as reported on the ICC's official website.
(With Agency Inputs)