Cricket World Cup 2023: all you need to know about the event this year

All the bar three of the International Cricket Council's full member nations - the Test-playing countries - and one associate member are part of the group. 

Ireland, Zimbabwe, and the West Indies are the missing trio, having won the first two World Cups, reached the final of the third, and have never failed to qualify previously.

Only the top two finishers in this year's final qualifying round, held in Zimbabwe in June and July, advanced to the finals, and West Indies finished fifth in the Super Six stage, losing to everyone but Oman.

Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, the one associate nation, stood out from the pack, the former with a perfect record and the latter with a net run rate marginally higher than Scotland's and far higher than Zimbabwe's. 

Cricket not only provides interesting sports, but it also provides exciting maths.

In addition to the well-known group-stage tiebreaker net run rate (the average number of runs scored by a team per available over minus the average number of runs scored against them).

There's also the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, or DLS to its friends, used to calculate a fair target score in a rain-interrupted match, which is far too complicated to explain here even if we understood it well enough to try but appears to do its job reasonably well.

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