South Africa's hopes of direct qualification for the ODI World Cup later this year have suffered a setback after they were docked one point from their tally in the Super League standings for maintaining a slow over-rate during their defeat to England in the third ODI in Kimberley on Wednesday.
Match referee Jeff Crowe imposed the sanction, finding Temba Bavuma's team to be one over short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration. South Africa were also fined 20% of their match fee for the offence.
South Africa are currently ninth with 78 points - they had 79 before the penalty - in the ODI Super League. The top eight teams gain automatic qualification to the 2023 World Cup, while the bottom five in the Super League will have to play the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier along with five Associate teams. Two teams from that qualifier will then progress to the World Cup and complete the line-up of ten contenders.
Seven of the top eight spots in the Super League have already been taken by New Zealand, India, England, Pakistan, Australia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The only spot that is still open is presently occupied by West Indies, who have 88 points, with South Africa (78), Sri Lanka (77) and Ireland (68) in the running as well.
Qualification scenarios for the 2023 World Cup
Played: 19, Points: 78, NRR: -0.410, Remaining matches: 2 vs Neth (H)
Two wins for South Africa will take them to 98 points (barring any further over-rate penalties). Sri Lanka can go past them if they win all three ODIs in New Zealand, which is a tall order given that New Zealand have a 17-4 win-loss in home ODIs in the last four years. With South Africa being docked a point, Ireland can also catch up with them on 98 if they win all three matches against Bangladesh. In that case, net run rate will come into play (NRR is the second tie-breaker behind wins, but in such a scenario both teams would have the same number of wins).
If the South Africa-Netherlands series ends 1-1, South Africa will finish level with West Indies, while Sri Lanka can move past them with two wins (or one win and two washouts).
Played: 21, Points: 77, NRR: -0.094, Remaining matches: 3 vs NZ (A)
Sri Lanka will qualify for sure if they beat New Zealand 3-0 (or if they win 2-0 with one washout). However, if they lose a game, then they will depend on other results going their way: both South Africa and Ireland can go past them if they finish on 97.
Played: 21, Points: 68, NRR-0.382, Remaining matches: 3 vs Ban (in England)
They have two series three-match ODI series against Bangladesh on their calendar. One in March which doesn't count towards the Super League and one in May which does. A 3-0 series win in that will take Ireland to 98 points, which will be enough for qualification if Sri Lanka don't win all three games in New Zealand, and if Ireland finish ahead of South Africa (on points or NRR).
Played: 24, Points: 88, NRR-0.738, Remaining matches: 0
West Indies have completed their eight bilateral series in the Super League, and can only hope that none of the other teams in contention pass 88 points. Since the first tie-breaker is wins, West Indies would finish ahead of any of South Africa, Sri Lanka and Ireland if they finished level on points.
For West Indies to make it, South Africa should lose at least once to Netherlands, Ireland should win at most twice, and Sri Lanka should win no more than one game in their remaining series.
February 3 1800 GMT - This piece was updated to reflect that wins are the first tie-breaker, then net run-rate.