The 2023 World Cup had an interesting sub plot that added a late twist after the halfway mark.
As the tournament entered the latter half of the group stage, it emerged that there was a lot more at stake than just a spot in the semi-finals. Unlike the 2019 edition where some teams that were not in the race for the last four lost steam, this time all sides had a major incentive to keep fighting.
It came to light during the World Cup that only the top eight teams at the end of the group phase, including hosts Pakistan, would qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy tournament.
It came as a wake-up call for teams like England, who went on a losing streak and were out of contention for a last-four spot fairly early.
However, after the 100-run defeat to India, which left them languishing near the bottom of the table, it became clear their Champions Trophy place was under serious threat. At one point, it seemed the Netherlands would qualify and not double world champions England.
However, Jos Buttler’s team got their act together and following their comprehensive victory over Pakistan in Kolkata, they made the cut for the next ICC event.
As all matches of the group phase of the World Cup concluded on Sunday, we now know who all have qualified for the Champions Trophy.
Which teams have qualified for Champions Trophy in Pakistan?
A total of eight teams will compete in the 2025 Champions Trophy. They are: India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, hosts Pakistan, Afghanistan, England and Bangladesh. That means Sri Lanka and the hugely impressive Netherlands won’t feature.
Also, teams such as the West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe won’t even get a chance to fight for a spot in the tournament.
The biggest takeaway from the World Cup and the Champions Trophy qualification scenario is the importance of net run rate.
Pakistan had lost all hope ahead of their last match against England as even a victory would not have sufficed. Their net run rate was so far behind that of the Kiwis that it could not have been covered realistically.
Had Pakistan fared better in their matches earlier, or lost less comprehensively, a simple victory could have done the trick against England. But none of it mattered in the end as Pakistan lost easily against the 2019 champions in Kolkata.
Similarly, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka finished tied on four points but Bangladesh qualified for the Champions Trophy as the eight-placed team simply because of a better net run rate.
In hindsight, the timed out dismissal of Angelo Matthews when the two sides clashed in Delhi was the most crucial moment of the tournament as Bangladesh won that game narrowly by three wickets and in the end, Sri Lanka lost a spot in the Champions Trophy.
What format will the Champions Trophy be?
It was assumed that the 2025 Champions Trophy will be played in ODI format but The Guardian recently reported that broadcasters have requested the International Cricket Council to host the event in T20 format.
That would an extraordinary development, if it happens, since deciding qualification for a T20 tournament through ODI matches is unheard of. It would also jeopardise the future of the ODI format as fewer teams are now willing to play 50-over games, preferring the lucrative T20 format.