ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Pakistan’s mission impossible

Omkar Paranjape
Friday, 5 July 2019

After England’s massive win over New Zealand, Pakistan needs nothing but a miracle to qualify for the semifinals

Leeds: The round robin stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 has now entered its fag end. While three semi-final spots secured - that of India, Australia, and England - one spot is still up for grabs.

With Eoin Morgan side’s victory over the Black Caps at Riverside Ground, England made it to their first semi-final after 1992. They had made it to the semi-finals in the first five tournaments—1975, 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992—but failed to reach there in the next 6 editions.

Despite New Zealand’s big loss, they are set to progress to the semi-finals because of a healthy net run rate. Pakistan will face Bangladesh in their last league game on Friday. But the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side will find it impossible to win and qualify.

New records
If Pakistan is to enter the semi-finals, they have to defeat Bangladesh by a margin of more than 300 runs so that they overtake New Zealand on the net run rate to take the fourth spot in the points table.

However, if Bangladesh bat first, Pakistan’s fate will be sealed before a ball is bowled as they have to complete the run chase in zero balls to overtake New Zealand.

It is worth mentioning that in the history of ODI cricket, no team has managed to win by a margin of over 300 runs, the highest-ever being 290 by New Zealand against Ireland in 2008. Pakistan’s biggest margin of victory in ODIs is 255 against Ireland in 2016.

New Zealand is safe
New Zealand are currently at fourth position with 11 points from nine matches. Their net run rate is +0.175. Pakistan’s net run rate is -0.792 and they are on nine points from eight games. The 1992 champions are currently placed fifth.

Pakistan fans who were in good spirits after the team eerily took similar path as in 1992 and 2019 World Cup campaigns, are now disappointed that the ‘men in green’ are virtually out of the competition.

They were left ruing the heavy defeats in the initial stages of the tournament, the game against West Indies in particular when they were bowled out for a paltry 105.

Blame game starts
Fast-bowling legend Shoaib Akhtar blasted New Zealand, saying he was disappointed with the way the Black Caps played against England in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 match in Chester-le-Street on Wednesday.

New Zealand lost to hosts England by 119 runs, all but ending Pakistan’s chances of reaching the semi-final of World Cup 2019. Nonetheless, Akhtar feels only Pakistan and not anyone else is responsible for their impending exit from the 50-over tournament.

“I was disappointed with the way New Zealand played against England.

They didn’t give any fight and meekly surrendered before England. They played like amateurs. They didn’t play quality cricket,” Shoaib Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
Pakistan suffered a massive defeat to arch-rivals India in their June 16 meeting in Manchester but have played a different brand of cricket ever since.

Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men are on a 3-match unbeaten run after having outclassed the likes of South Africa, New Zealand and Afghanistan.

Pakistan wanted a few results to go their way, especially against England.

They would have benefited had India and New Zealand defeated the hosts in their last 2 league matches, but Eoin Morgan’s men stormed into the semi-final with wins over the two teams.

For Pakistan to qualify

  • Beat Bangladesh by 312 runs after scoring 350
  • Beat Bangladesh by 316 runs after scoring 400
  • Beat Bangladesh by 321 runs after scoring 450. More importantly Pakistan cannot qualify if they score anything less than 308.
  • Also, if Pakistan bat second, it will be impossible for them to achieve the differential in the net run rate and catch up with New Zealand and they will be eliminated.

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