Still a chance, barely, for Proteas to make CWC SFs

Faf du Plessis (AP)
Faf du Plessis (AP)

Lord's - The Proteas can still reach the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, but it would take a series of results going their way - while they would also need to win all three of their remaining fixtures. 

LOG: Latest 2019 Cricket World Cup standings

The new-found hope, however miniscule, came after Sri Lanka stunned England at Headingley on Friday. 

South Africa, who are preparing for Sunday's clash against Pakistan at Lord's, have three fixtures left and if they win all of those - they play Sri Lanka and Australia after Pakistan - then they will finish on 9 log points. 

England, currently on 8 log points, also have three fixtures left - against Australia, India and New Zealand. 

If England were to lose all of those matches and South Africa win all of theirs, then South Africa will finish ahead of the tournament hosts. 

However, that's not all that's required. 

South Africa would also need the West Indies, currently playing against New Zealand, to win no more than two of their remaining four fixtures while Bangladesh would need to lose two of their last three fixtures against Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. 

Sri Lanka, currently on 6 points, would need to lose to South Africa and then one of the West Indies or India. 

If all of that transpires then South Africa would make the semi-finals in what would be one of the great World Cup stories. 

It is a long shot, of course, and one more South African defeat or one more England win would make things certain ... but there is still a chance.

Proteas batsman Aiden Markram addressed media at Lord's on Saturday, and he acknowledged that the squad had not sat down to work out permutations. 

The equation for the Proteas is a simple one, after all, if they lose again.  

"We definitely never feel down and out," Markram said.

"We've sort of tried to put a lot of the focus back completely on us going forward.

"It's obviously really important that we win the remaining three of our games, and if there's outside chance of qualifying, that would be incredible.

"But the only way we're going to do that is by winning the next three games.

"A lot of focus is on us at the moment, us as a squad and trying to win the next three games and from there we'll take it as it comes."

Markram said that the mood in the camp since the loss to New Zealand had been low.

"Naturally after the game, it was quite a tough one to swallow because obviously it was quite an important game for us leading to it and it was really close," he said.

"The mood, naturally it was a bit down, but I think we've done a bit of our sulking and moping around.

"The energy in the changing room since we've been here (Lord's) is really good, and I also think it helps the that the families arrived yesterday.

"The guys are feeling slightly more refreshed up and for the next three games."

Play on Sunday starts at 11:30 (SA time). 

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...

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