File photo of Pakistan cricket team.© AFP
Pakistan will be needing a miracle to make it to the semi-finals of Cricket World Cup 2023 when they face a charged-up England at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Saturday. New Zealand’s net run-rate boosting five wicket-win over Sri Lanka on Thursday has virtually shattered Pakistan’s semifinal hopes. The 1992 champions now have to beat England by an improbable margin to make it to the knockout round. New Zealand’s NRR is +0.743 while Pakistan’s is +0.036, and for the Babar Azam-led side to eclipse the former to qualify as the fourth side, it has to win by around 287 runs batting first. While chasing, Pakistan need to win with 284 balls to spare. That is an impractical task.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan took a dig at Babar Azam and company after sharing a list of permutations and combinations that Pakistan will be needing to make their nearly impossible semi-final qualification a reality.
“Keep believing Pakistan .. You never know ..,” wrote Vaughan in his post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) November 10, 2023
For defending champions England, the World Cup title defence dream may have been over for quite a sometime now but the Jos Buttler-led side will aim to finish inside top-8 to make the cut for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
As things stand, it’s a four-way race with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands also in the mix with England.
Their 160-run win over the Netherlands in the last match has given the down-and-out England the much-needed late charge as they have climbed up to the seventh spot and face the easiest equation among the four teams.
A win against Pakistan should seal the spot, considering that both Bangladesh and the Netherlands face tough opponents in Australia and India respectively, and also have inferior NRRs than England.
(With PTI Inputs)
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