WWC17: The race to the semi-finals

Two rounds remain before the semi-finals and there's plenty to play for

With five teams still in the running for the Women’s World Cup semi-finals and eight matches left to play, the stage is set for a thrilling finish to the group stage of the tournament.

Of those eight matches, six will impact who progresses to the play-offs, with four of those involving finals hopefuls going head-to-head.

For Australia, India and England, one win will be enough to guarantee a spot in the semi-finals.

Full schedule: Women's World Cup

But it’s a different story for South Africa and New Zealand, who suffered a washout in the early stages of the tournament.

If both only win one of their remaining games, it will come down to net run rate for fourth spot.

The forecast looks optimistic for the remainder of the week, but the United Kingdom’s fickle weather could yet play a hand.

Meanwhile, the positions of the top four are also important. First will meet fourth in Bristol on July 18, giving the victor a full two days of extra rest before the final at Lord’s on July 23, with the second semi-final to be played in Derby on July 20.

England (won 4, lost 1, points: 8, NRR: 1.163)

Left to play: New Zealand (Wednesday, Derby), West Indies (Saturday, Bristol)

Given the West Indies’ woes this tournament, England have one of the kinder runs home. They’ll be looking to win big against the Caribbean side to boost their hopes of finishing on top and claiming the advantage of the first semi-final.

Ice cool Hartley kept her "chill"

Australia (won 4, lost 1, points: 8, NRR: 1.065)

Left to play: India (Wednesday, Bristol), South Africa (Saturday, Taunton)

Australia will head in as favourites in both matches, having never lost a game to South Africa – although they did tie with the Proteas last November – while their record against India is similarly strong, with just eight defeats from 41 matches.

But both India and South Africa have come a long way and have produced outstanding cricket this tournament, so Meg Lanning’s team cannot afford to take anything for granted. One win is needed to progress, but Australia need to boost their net run rate if they want to finish on top of the table.

Match Wrap: Aussies too strong for Pakistan

India (won 4, lost 1, points: 8, NRR: 0.263)

Left to play: Australia (Wednesday, Bristol), New Zealand (Saturday, Derby)

Mithali Raj’s charges have two tough matches left against higher-ranked opponents in Australia and New Zealand, but they’ve already claimed one big scalp in hosts England and will be confident of doing the same in at least one of their final two matches.

If they lose both, they’ll be relying on South Africa to suffer defeats to both Australia and the winless Sri Lanka to progress. 

Well-read Raj smashes paperback, England

New Zealand (won 3, lost 1, no result 1, points: 7, NRR: 2.301)

Left to play: England (Wednesday, Derby), India (Saturday, Derby)

Realistically, New Zealand must win at least one of their final two matches to progress, given South Africa are more than likely to take the points over Sri Lanka. Two wins will cement their place in the semi-finals. 

In New Zealand’s corner is their high NRR, courtesy of huge wins over Pakistan and West Indies, so they’re in the best position to progress if they do find themselves locked on nine points with South Africa.

All-round Aussies cruise past Kiwis

South Africa (Won 3, lost 1, no result 1, points: 7, NRR: 1.457)

Left to play: Sri Lanka (Wednesday, Taunton), Australia (Saturday, Taunton)

South Africa will be confident of defeating Sri Lanka on Wednesday, but that may not be enough if New Zealand take the points from one or both of their final matches, so they’ll also need to upset Australia in Taunton to be assured . 

West Indies flattened for 48

West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan: Semi-finals are out of the question for all three, who have just the one win between them. 

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Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.

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