Can Pakistan still qualify for World Cup semis after New Zealand win?

Pakistan’s Haris Rauf celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Netherlands’ captain Scott Edwards during the World Cup 2023 match at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on October 6, 2023. — AFP

Despite Pakistan’s power hitting which ultimately led them to victory against New Zealand there are still many ifs and buts on whether Babar Azam’s men can qualify for the World Cup semi-finals.

In light of today’s 21-run victory that has kept Babar Azam’s men alive in the World Cup, it is pertinent to look into the factors that might decide the Green Shirts’ prospects of making it to the knockout stage of the tournament.

The best-case scenario for Pakistan is to secure a win against England and if Sri Lanka beat the Kiwis on November 9, the national side might likely qualify for the semis.

Apart from this straightforward scenario, the Men in Green’s future in the tournament also depends upon Afghanistan, who currently are tied with Pakistan with eight points.

If Afghanistan win their next two matches — against Australia and South Africa — they will qualify for the semis with 12 points.

However, even if they win one of their two remaining matches and Pakistan also wins their next match against England, both teams will again tie on the points table with 10 points, bringing the net run-rate (NRR) into play.

At present, Pakistan’s NRR stands at +0.036 as compared to Afghanistan’s -0.330. However, the equation might change as Pakistan are yet to play one more match, whereas Afghanistan have two more matches in the tournament.

The Green Shirts today won by DLS in the rain-affected match breaking their four-match losing streak in the mega-event.

Winning the toss and opting to field first, the Kiwis took Pakistani bowlers to the cleaners to propel their side to a massive 401-run total.

Chasing a mammoth target, Pakistan suffered a setback when opener Abdullah Shafique was dismissed for a meagre four runs after playing nine balls.

However, Pakistan’s prolific batter Fakhar fought back. Fakhar also got support from skipper Babar, who did not disappoint and has lived up to the moment so far.

The run-chase was suspended multiple times due to rain and the match was eventually called off.

Fakhar’s 63-ball blistering century ensured that Pakistan stayed ahead of the par-score and secured a 21-run victory.

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