Zimbabwe and Scotland will face each other in a crucial Super Sixes match of the ICC Men’s World Cup Qualifier today (July 4) in what could end up being a winner-take-all clash.

Sri Lanka have already qualified for the Men’s ODI World Cup in India on October 5 after an unbeaten run in the ongoing Qualifiers. They won all four group games and then defeated the Netherlands and Zimbabwe in the Super Sixes to seal a spot. Only one more place is up for grabs for the ten-team 50-over World Cup after eight sides directly qualified through the 2020-2023 ICC ODI Men’s Super League.

Which will be the tenth team in the ODI World Cup?

Each team played a total of four group games, from which the top three made it into the Super Sixes. The teams that advanced to the second round carried forward points earned against the other side that also qualified for the Super Sixes. For example, Zimbabwe, who won all four league games, took forward their four points accumulated after victories against the Netherlands and West Indies (teams that made the Super Sixes) in the Group A clash. Points gathered after defeating Nepal and the UAE in the first round were not carried forward. The Net Run Rate from these games was also carried over.

With Sri Lanka already qualifying, the pressure increases on Scotland and the Netherlands, who currently have four points. Zimbabwe have six points and their last match against Scotland will potentially decide the side that takes the flight to India later this year.

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How can Zimbabwe qualify?

Zimbabwe have six points thus far – four from the league stage and two more after their win over Oman in the Super Sixes. They lost to Sri Lanka in their last clash and will need to win against Scotland to increase their chances of making the ODI World Cup. A defeat will not rule them out, but they will have to hope other results go their way courtesy of their Net Run Rate (+0.030) being lower than Scotland’s (+0.188). The clash against Scotland will be their last of the Qualifiers, and they will then have to rely on other teams. They can get to a maximum of eight points.

How can Scotland qualify?

Scotland have four points, and two more games to go in the Super Sixes. They can also reach eight points and have the best Net Run Rate among the three teams still in the fray. A win against Zimbabwe will take them up to second place, and nearer to qualification. A loss could be curtains, however, as Zimbabwe will go up to eight, and Scotland will only be able to manage six even if they win their last match, against the Netherlands.

How can the Netherlands qualify?

Although slim, the Netherlands does have a mathematical chance to make it. They currently have four points, and have one more clash remaining – against Scotland. Their Net Run Rate of -0.042 is the worst among all three teams still in the fray but a big win could open up doors. Their best chance would be for Scotland to defeat Zimbabwe (Scotland goes to six, Zimbabwe stay on six), and then they beat Scotland to also go up to six. The Net Run Rate will then enter the picture.

Why the Zimbabwe-Scotland clash is crucial?

The Netherlands have a tough task ahead of them, hoping that a number of results along with the Net Run Rate favours them. Realistically, one of Zimbabwe and Scotland will make it. Zimbabwe can qualify directly with a win over Scotland, getting eight points. A win for Scotland over Zimbabwe will leave both teams at six but will give the former the edge courtesy of a better Net Run Rate. A win over Zimbabwe will also ease the pressure on Scotland as they will still be able to qualify despite a defeat to the Netherlands in their last game.