The third and final round of the first stage of the Women's World Cup takes place tomorrow. The top three teams in each group will then go through to the Super Six stage, which starts on Friday. The two teams knocked out will play for 7th/8th on Thursday.
There are three early games and one day/night match between India and Sri Lanka, which may give those teams a slight advantage as they will know exactly what they have to do to qualify.
The games are :-
England v West Indies
India v Sri Lanka (D/N)
Australia v New Zealand
South Africa v Pakistan
With each team in Group A having won one game, the winner of each these final games will automatically qualify for the Super Six stage. For the two losing teams it will be a matter of who has the best net run rate. A team's net run rate is calculated by deducting from the average runs per over scored by that team throughout the competition, the average runs per over scored against that team throughout the competition. Sri Lanka, having been hammered by the West Indies in their last game, have by far the worst net run rate and, if they lose to India, it can only get worse. This means that the loser of the England v West Indies game would have to lose by more than 115 runs in the case of England or 153 runs in the case of West Indies. If Sri Lanka win it will be India's net run rate which will need to be beaten and it will be a much tighter calculation. India will know what they have to do by the start of the second innings in their match.
The first game to be played will be the England v West Indies game. England got their World Cup back on track, after it had become partially derailed against the Sri Lankans, with a thoroughly professional victory over the Indians. The West Indies took the Sri Lankan's apart in their second game thanks to a magnificent 171 from Stafanie Taylor and another explosive 50 from Deandra Dottin. England will be trying to save the pace of Brunt and Shrubsole for when these two are at the crease. Get them early and the victory should be England's, given that there is not a great deal to fear in the Windies bowling attack.
I cannot see the Sri Lankan's pulling off another shock by defeating the Indians. I don't think the margin of defeat will be as great as it was to the West Indies, but I think India will do it comfortably, which will see them through together with England and the West Indies.
In Group B undefeated Australia and New Zealand have already secured their spots in the next stage. One of their unbeaten records will have to go (unless they tie of course). I think this will be a titanic struggle. On current form you would have to say that the White Ferns are favourites. They have looked strong both with bat and ball against weaker opposition. By contrast the Aussie top order batting has looked fragile. However I think the Aussies will just pull it out of the bag in a game which I think will go right down to the wire.
The other Group B match is the decider for the third spot in the Super Six stage and South Africa should have enough batting and bowling to overpower Pakistan, whose tournament has not really got going. Their batting in particular has been weak, being bowled out for 84 and 104 in their two games to date. The experience of Trisha Chetty, Mignon du Preez and Cri-zelda Brits should keep South Africa in the tournament.