South Africa nears automatic World Cup berth with impressive performance
“South Africa’s commanding victory over the Netherlands in Johannesburg on Sunday has put them in a strong position to qualify directly for this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Aiden Markram’s brilliant 175 helped South Africa to an imposing total of 370/8, and pacer Sisanda Magala’s career-best figures of 5/43 ensured that the Netherlands were all out for just 224 in the 40th over.
South Africa moved over the West Indies and into the eighth and final slot on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League table with the victory, giving them a 2-0 series win over the Netherlands. There were concerns that South Africa might lose out on a top-eight completion and be compelled into the qualification competition in Zimbabwe because the top 8 sides in the Super League qualified automatically for the 50-over World Cup.
However, South Africa’s latest victory has put them in a strong position to avoid that trip to the qualifier. With only 11th-placed Ireland now able to overtake them, the Proteas are the favorites to claim the final automatic qualifying spot.
In the Top Division round that will be played in England next month, Ireland has still three games left to play Bangladesh. South Africa is obligated to participate in the qualifying if Ireland wins all three of its games. Yet, South Africa enjoys a buffer that could end up being crucial given their superior net run rate of -0.077.
If South Africa finishes in the final automatic qualifying spot, they will join the top seven teams in the Super League standings, which are currently led by England. Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the West Indies are also in contention for the top eight spots.
The Qualifier Play-off in Namibia is still ongoing, and two other sides will also feature once the tournament is finished. The top two teams from the Qualifier will join the top eight teams from the Super League to form the 10-team tournament that will compete in the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
South Africa’s strong performance against the Netherlands is a welcome boost for the team, which has struggled in recent years. After being eliminated from the 2019 Cricket World Cup in the group stage, South Africa has undergone a significant overhaul, with several senior players retiring or being dropped from the team. However, the team’s recent performances have been encouraging, and they will be hoping to carry that form into the Super League cycle and the 2023 World Cup.
The Super League is a new competition introduced by the International Cricket Council to provide context to bilateral ODI series. The top seven teams in the Super League standings, along with hosts India, will automatically qualify for the 2023 World Cup. The remaining two spots will be filled by the top two teams from the Qualifier.
The World Cup is one of the most prestigious events in cricket, and every team will be hoping to secure a place in the tournament. With several teams still in contention for the remaining spots, the Super League and the Qualifier promise to be exciting and closely contested competitions. South Africa’s victory over the Netherlands has put them in a strong position to qualify directly for the World Cup, but they will need to maintain their form in the coming months to secure their spot.