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Last Updated:  Sunday, 2 March, 2003, 16:10 GMT

England can still hope
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport in South Africa

England skipper Nasser Hussain
England's fate is no longer in their own hands
England's loss to Australia on Sunday means their chances of making it into the second round of the World Cup are hanging by the finest of threads.

Nasser Hussain's men now need Pakistan to beat Zimbabwe on Tuesday to have any chance of going through, with Australia and India already qualified from Group A.

And even then their progress would depend on comparing their scoring rate against those of Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

England are out if Zimbabwe beat Pakistan on Tuesday, in which case the African nation would go through - but England have a reasonable chance should the last relevant match go the other way.

If the hosts lose in Bulawayo, England, Pakistan and Zimbabwe would be tied on 12 points with three wins each.

According to the rules of the World Cup, if more than two teams have equal points and wins, the team winning the most matches in the games between them would be placed ahead.

But while Zimbabwe "beat" England when their match in Harare was forfeited, the African nation would have lost to Pakistan - who in turn lost to England.

In that instance, net run rate (NRR) would come into play.

This is the speed at which teams have won or lost their matches and, if things remain as they are now, England would qualify.

But for Pakistan to surpass England's NRR, the following example targets apply on Tuesday:

Scenario A - Zimbabwe bat first

  • If Zimbabwe score 100, Pakistan will need to get the runs in 10.5 overs.
  • If Zimbabwe score 150, Pakistan will need to get the runs in 12.1 overs.
  • If Zimbabwe score 200, Pakistan will need to get the runs in 13.2 overs.
  • If Zimbabwe score 250, Pakistan will need to get the runs in 14.2 overs.

    Scenario B - Pakistan bat first

  • If Pakistan score 200 they will need to dismiss Zimbabwe for 13 or less.
  • If Pakistan score 250 they will need to dismiss Zimbabwe for 62 or less.
  • If Pakistan score 300 they will need to dismiss Zimbabwe for 112 or less.
  • If Pakistan score 350 they will need to dismiss Zimbabwe for 161 or less.

    The 1992 winners are in similar trouble to England, in that they must beat Zimbabwe on Tuesday to have a chance of qualifying.

    Now England have lost to Australia, if Pakistan beat Zimbabwe, the third qualifying slot will be decided on net run rate, as explained above.

    The joint hosts are certain of a Super Sixes spot if they beat or draw with Pakistan on Tuesday.

    If Zimbabwe win their final group match, then they will finish third on 16 points, but a draw or no result will also ensure qualification as they will end up taking the last available spot on 14 points.

    However, if they lose to Pakistan, Zimbabwe will be reliant on NRR - as explained above.

  • Qualifying rules explained

    If two teams are vying for a single spot, the first tie-breaker is the result of the match between them.

    If it is three teams, there is a strong possibility that each will have gained a win and defeat against the others.

    That is where net run rate - the speed at which teams have won or lost each match - comes into play.

    The only time the NRR would not be used to split three teams would be if India, England and Zimbabwe are tied on 16 points.

    Then, India's wins over both opponents would give them second spot in the group, and Zimbabwe's win over England would see the African side snatch third place.

    Links to more England stories


    England team analyst Malcolm Ashton
    "If Zimbabwe win it's home and down to the pub"


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