The ICC World Cup taking place in India, in its 13th edition, is just over the halfway mark, and a great climax is in store for us in the coming few weeks. Host India remains an unbeatable force, and expectedly so, given they are playing in their home conditions.
This World Cup has seen several upsets already, and we are almost certain to witness a new champion, given the fact that defending champions England are all but out of the tournament thanks to their indifferent form throughout the campaign.
However, the performances of the 10 teams here will not just have a bearing on this World Cup alone, as according to recent developments, the teams that finish in the top 8 of the group stages of the World Cup 2023 will qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in Pakistan in 2025. This might have been a surprise to some of the boards, but the decision regarding the qualification process was taken by the ICC during a meeting in November 2021.
The Asian giants Pakistan, who are also the defending champions, having won the last tournament in 2017, will qualify automatically by virtue of being the hosts. So as things stand, the top 7 teams, along with Pakistan, will feature in the ICC Champions Trophy 2025, which will be played across 2 groups of 4 teams each, followed by the semi-finals and the final to decide the victor of the tournament.
Which teams are certain to qualify for this second-most important event in the ODI cricketing calendar?
As things stand, Pakistan will be the first entrant to the ODI mini-World Cup, irrespective of where they finish at the end of the league stages. At the moment, they aren’t playing their best cricket and are likely to miss out on being a semi-finalist for the 3rd World Cup running.
England, who came into the World Cup as the defending champions and one of the favourites to last the distance, if not win the whole thing, are at risk of finishing last in the points table. All the teams have played 6 games each, and England is at the bottom of the peril, winning just a solitary game along with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh, the emerging powerhouse of cricket, has played poor cricket in familiar conditions and might miss out on a Champions Trophy spot if they don’t pick themselves up in the remaining games. Bangladesh was one of the semi-finalists in the 2017 edition, but here in India, they are not playing up to their potential.
Both of these sides have 3 games each to move up the ranks and make themselves available for the Champions Trophy. So from the words of both Shakib and Jos Buttler, England and Bangladesh have everything to play despite the fact they won’t necessarily make the semi-finals.
Which teams miss out?
Sides like the West Indies, Zimbabwe, and Ireland, which are traditionally familiar faces when it comes to the World Cup, don’t stand a chance to qualify, as only the teams featuring in India would have a chance to crack at the Champions Trophy. This means the West Indies, who are former champions, will miss out on CT for the second time in a row.
Surprise packages for the Champions Trophy 2025?
As mentioned, we have witnessed several upsets in the ongoing World Cup, and teams like Afghanistan and the Netherlands have lit up the tournament with their inspired performances on the field. In 6 games, the Netherlands have bested South Africa, who have otherwise been stunning in the tournament, and a struggling Bangladesh. Courtesy of this, the Netherlands stay afloat at the 8th position in the points table and have a decent chance to make the Champions Trophy for the first time since 2002.
Afghanistan has beaten 3 former champions in England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and they have a great chance to make it to their maiden ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan. The rest of them are usual suspects, including former champions India, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand.
Irrespective of the fact that whichever teams qualify, the ICC Champions Trophy is expected to be a mouthwatering affair and could be unpredictable, just like the ongoing World Cup. This has brought life back to ODI cricket, and CT is expected to continue to do the same in years to come.