2023 ODI World Cup digest: New Zealand all but assured of a semi-final

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The Men’s 2023 ODI World Cup is now building towards the final on November 19. Each morning we will round up the latest action and news from the event and bring you the insights from our reporters on the ground.

Top Story: Boult all but leads New Zealand into semi-finals; SL’s Champions Trophy hopes fade

New Zealand 172 for 5 (Conway 45, Mitchell 43, Mathews 2-29) beat Sri Lanka 171 (Perera 51, Boult 3-37, Ravindra 2-21) by six wickets

New Zealand all but booked their place in the World Cup semi-final against India with a dominant five-wicket win – with 160 balls to spare – against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru. The result took them to ten points, and a net run rate (NRR) of 0.743, leaving Pakistan needing to beat England by 287 runs, while Afghanistan need an even more fantastical 438-run win over South Africa, if they are to surpass New Zealand’s NRR.

If Pakistan were to chase, they would have no chance of qualifying.

As for Sri Lanka, the margin of defeat against New Zealand left them languishing in ninth place, thus out of qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy. They now need one of England or Bangladesh to suffer defeats – while Netherlands also need to lose to India – to the extent that their respective NRRs drop below Sri Lanka’s.

Match analysis: How Santner slows it up to get the drop on batters

It won’t go down as the ball of this World Cup. Or even the best ball bowled by a left-arm orthodox spinner at this World Cup. Or even the best ball bowled by Mitchell Santner at this World Cup – that honour, surely, will go to the pitch-leg, hit-off ripper he bowled to Mohammad Nabi in Chennai.

This ball wasn’t that kind of ball, the kind that becomes instant social-media fodder. This was different, a ball less about its own magnificence than what it revealed about the bowler’s craft in totality. This was the kind of ball that made you wish you had paid more attention to every preceding ball this bowler had sent down, and resolve to pay extra attention to every subsequent ball.

Must Watch: Sri Lanka’s batting has been a massive letdown

Afghanistan vs South Africa, Ahmedabad (2pm IST; 8.30am GMT; 7.30pm AEDT)

Afghanistan were so close to achieving their most important ODI win. Against Australia. For a shot at the World Cup semi-finals. Almost there. Before a Glenn Maxwell-sized meteorflattened them.

They are now in Ahmedabad to play their final league game and will bow out of the World Cup at the largest cricket stadium in the world. Having only ever beaten Scotland once in 2015 and 2019, Afghanistan have beaten three former champions – England, Sri Lanka and Pakistan – this time, as well as Netherlands, but the 438-run victory they need against South Africa to push New Zealand out of fourth place on net run rate is impossible. An exit with ten points, as many as the team that qualifies fourth, however, will be a massive win in itself.
In all seriousness, England would be all too happy to walk away from this miserable campaign right now.

Feature: Clinical, risk-assessed, productive – Afghanistan’s batting evolution unlocks new highs

Do you still remember that shot? The shot before the shots that you’re not going to ever forget. The shot before Glenn Maxwell pulled off shots that even Glenn Maxwell might think were a little bit too much.

That shot came off the bat of Ibrahim Zadran earlier in the game and on any other night, it would have been recognised and remembered as one of the shots of the tournament. A ramped dab – or was it a dabbed ramp? – dead straight over the wicketkeeper, off Pat Cummins, to the boundary on the bounce: written out like this, it sounds a little prosaic.

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