Despite their dominating 79-run victory over the UAE, Sri Lanka are still in danger of failing to qualify for the Super 12 stage of the World Cup and becoming this year’s shock early exit from the competition.

Sri Lanka’s defeat to Namibia in the opening match of the group stage of the competition means that they no longer have a straightforward path to follow to the top of Group A, what was presumed to be the most realistic scenario before the tournament started.

Even if they do make it through, it is now likely that they will finish the group stage in second position and end up in the much more challenging Group Two for the Super 12, where they will face South Africa, India, Pakistan, and potentially the West Indies, if they finish top of their group.

Currently, Sri Lanka sit in third position – outside of the two qualifying slots – with each team set to play one more match before qualification is settled. They are on equal points with Namibia, having each won one match, but are behind them on net run rate. However, the narrow margin of Netherlands’ two wins offers Sri Lanka a lifeline. Sri Lanka’s net run rate is better than that of the Dutch, meaning that if Sri Lanka win their final group game, against Netherlands, they will be guaranteed a place in the next round.

However, whether Sri Lanka top the group will depend on the result of the last game of the group between Namibia and the UAE, and Namibia will enter that contest knowing exactly what victory margin they require to take top spot.

If Netherlands manage to beat the reigning Asia Cup champions, they will go through, regardless of other results. But that won’t necessarily knock Sri Lanka out. Instead, they will then face a nervous wait to see if Namibia win their final fixture. In the scenario that Namibia do win, Sri Lanka will be out of the competition, finishing third in the group on two points compared to the Netherlands and Namibia on six and four respectively.

If Namibia lose to the UAE after Sri Lanka lose to the Netherlands, it will then be a three-way fight between those three teams for the second qualifying spot. Whoever has the highest net run rate will displace the other two. Currently, Namibia have the superior net run rate out of the three, after a narrow loss to the Netherlands and a high margin of victory over Sri Lanka.


If Netherlands lose, they will also be watching the Namibia-UAE clash nervously. Given their net run rate is currently inferior to Namibia’s, in that scenario, any victory for Namibia would see Netherlands knocked out. However, if UAE were to win, Netherlands would be knocked out.

The situation, therefore, is an odd one, with three teams having destiny in their own hands despite only two teams being able to go through. Should any of Netherlands, Sri Lanka or Namibia win their final group games, they will be guaranteed progression. Which of them does remains to be seen.

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