World Cup 2019: How will the last two league matches affect the semi-final clashes?
After some thrilling matches and riveting performances, the ICC World Cup 2019 is nearing its business end, with just 2 games remaining in the league phase. With Pakistan now being mathematically eliminated, the four semi-finalists are decided, namely India, Australia, England and New Zealand.
However, what is not decided, is the final positions of the top two teams. Hence, though the last two league games might be dead rubbers, they have a huge significance in the context of the line up of the semi-finals.
As of now, defending champions Australia are placed at the apex of the points table, with 7 wins and a loss in their 8 matches. India are placed just a spot below, with 6 wins, 1 No-Result and a solitary loss in their 8 games.
England and New Zealand are scheduled to end the league phase at the third and fourth spots respectively. With the top two teams taking the field in the final league games, the individual teams who would be locking horns against each other in the semi-final are yet to be confirmed.
In the first game, Virat Kohli's men would be taking on Sri Lanka in Headingley at Leeds. The last league match shall be taking place between Aaron Finch's troops and South Africa at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester.
The fate of these two games can decide the semi-final line up in the following ways (assuming that both the games shall end either in a win or a loss):
#1 If India win and Australia lose
In such a scenario, India would climb to the top of the points table, with 15 points against their name, while Australia would occupy the second spot with 14 points.
In the case of this event, India would travel to Manchester to play their semi-final clash against New Zealand, while Australia would head for Birmingham to lock horns with archrivals England.
#2 If Australia win their match
In case Australia manages to beat South Africa, then the top 2 teams shall remain on their incumbent positions, irrespective of the result that India achieve.
This would see a repeat of the 2015 World Cup Final; the Trans-Tasmanian clash, in the first semi-final. India would travel to Birmingham to take on hosts England in the second semi-final.