World Cup 2023: How can Pakistan still secure its place in the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals?
In the challenge of sealing a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals, Pakistan faces a tough task, which involves not only winning but also beating the defending champions by a huge margin in their Net Run Rate (NRR). There is also a need for significant growth.
As per the current standings of the ICC Cricket World Cup points table, the top four teams – India, South Africa and Australia – have already booked their places in the World Cup 2023 semi-finals. The fight for the fourth spot has heated up, with New Zealand leading the race with 10 points and a commendable +0.743 NRR. In comparison, Pakistan, with 8 points and +0.036 NRR, faces stiff competition from Afghanistan, who also have 8 points but a challenging -0.338 NRR. To seal their place in the semi-finals of the ODI World Cup 2023, Pakistan face a crucial task: they need to increase their net run rate (NRR) to +0.75.
There are two mathematical ways to accomplish this:
If Pakistan bats first against England in the upcoming crucial encounter, the Men in Green will have to not only win but also leave England trailing by 288 runs. On the other hand, if England takes the lead in batting, Babar Azam's team will face the tough task of chasing the target with a minimum of 284 balls remaining.
The toss emerges as a deciding factor in the Pakistan vs England ODI World Cup match. If Pakistan bowls first, the already challenging NRR requirements could make qualification for the ODI World Cup semi-finals practically impossible. Even in the scenario where Pakistan gets to bat first, beating England by a margin of 288 runs seems difficult, especially considering their current condition which has been described as 'bad and injury prone'. The challenges ahead cast doubt on the feasibility of such a huge win, adding an extra layer of complexity to Pakistan's uphill battle to make the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals.