Cricket

Can Pakistan still qualify for the Worldcup 2023 semifinals?

Again resorting to ifs and buts, as usual. Certainly, Pakistan still has a chance to qualify for the semifinals. However, it’s imperative that they win all the remaining matches decisively to secure their spot. The team must bring out their best performance to outshine their rivals in the upcoming games. Otherwise, to be honest, the odds become exceedingly slim. Nevertheless, regardless of the outcome, the essence and sportsmanship of the game will persist.

While mathematically it’s still possible, in practical terms, it seems unlikely. Pakistan holds the best record against South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England in the World Cup. This gives rise to a strong hope that Pakistan will emerge victorious in all the remaining matches. At the same time, we can expect more defeats in the next four matches due to form. This observation is not based on hatred, but rather on what’s been observed. Weak captaincy and average fielding won’t lead the team to success.

If Pakistan manages to win all of their remaining four matches, either New Zealand, South Africa, or Australia will be eliminated from the top four. However, for this scenario to unfold, Pakistan will need some other results to go in their favor.

For Pakistan to have a chance:

  1. They need to win all their remaining games (although it seems unlikely).
  2. Australia must lose at least two out of their next five games (which is possible as England and NZ can defeat them).
  3. Afghanistan needs to lose at least one more game (which is possible against SA or AUS).

Keep in mind that these conditions would result in a higher chance of an upset:

Pakistan World Cup Qualification Conditions

Conditions for Pakistan to Qualify:

Conditions Yes/No
Pakistan Wins All Matches Yes
Australia Loses to NZ Yes
Australia Loses to Eng Yes
SA Loses to NZ Yes
SA Loses to India Yes
NZ Loses to Aus Yes
NZ Loses to SA Yes
NZ Loses to One Other Yes
India Loses All Matches Yes
Chances of Upset Higher Chance

Australia have played one match less than Pakistan, yet their points are equal. Pakistan’s objective is to catch up with Australia. It’s anticipated that New Zealand will secure a victory against Australia. Therefore, Pakistan must focus on winning their remaining four matches with good run rates. Based on the upcoming matches, Pakistan will face the following teams:

  1. South Africa in Chennai.
  2. Bangladesh in Kolkata.
  3. New Zealand in Bengaluru.
  4. England in Kolkata.

India is almost guaranteed a spot in the semifinals. Apart from India, nothing is confirmed yet. All other positions are still up for grabs, but for Pakistan to have a chance, they must win all their remaining matches.

Pakistan always seems to follow this pattern for qualification! They face struggles, they face setbacks, and then somehow they manage to qualify! Luck always seems to come their way at the last moment! If Pakistan wins all their remaining matches and Australia loses any two of their remaining matches, Pakistan has a chance. However, if Australia loses only one match in the remaining fixtures, the decision will come down to the Net Run Rate (NRR).

And truth be told, it wasn’t all that difficult. Two more teams have experienced upsets! The No. 4 slot is still up for grabs! Out of the four remaining matches, three are against South Africa, New Zealand, and England. Pakistan needs to win at least two out of these three, and also secure a victory against Bangladesh, considering the Net Run Rate (NRR) in all matches. If there are two more defeats, it will dash all hopes. Currently, the chances are less than 10%.

If they manage to qualify with this level of fitness and fielding, it will make me question the importance of talent. In a way, it might be beneficial for Pakistan to lose from this point. It would prompt their management to acknowledge and address the weaknesses. In 50-over cricket, Pakistan still seems to be stuck in 2005, lagging behind by 18 years in terms of modern cricket. Our top talent doesn’t seem to measure up to even a C team from other countries.

The performance of the Pakistan team doesn’t seem to warrant their spot in the Semi Finals. Other hardworking, professional teams like India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand should be the ones qualifying for the Semis. If Pakistan manages to reach the semifinals by sheer luck, it may not actually be beneficial for them. It could mask the underlying issues Pakistan is currently facing. For instance, in T20 2022, Pakistan reached the semis by luck, but they seemed to overlook the fact that they were defeated by Zimbabwe. In my opinion, it’s the deserving teams that should advance to the semis, not the ones relying on luck.

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