Pakistan’s Path to World Cup 2023 Semi-Finals: Unpacking the Scenarios Involving Australia, Afghanistan, and New Zealand

Mathematically, Pakistan still has a slim chance of making it to the semi-finals of the 2023 Cricket World Cup, but the odds are stacked against them. It’s a situation that feels familiar to Pakistani cricket fans, reminiscent of their famous 1992 World Cup comeback. However, making it to the semis won’t be easy, and they’ll need several things to go their way.

At the start of the tournament, Pak was considered one of the title contenders. They had a strong batting lineup and a formidable pace attack. Things looked promising after they secured victories against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. But then, the wheels came off as they suffered four consecutive defeats, an unprecedented slump in World Cup history for Pakistan.

So, can Pakistan still qualify for the semi-finals?

Realistically, it’s a long shot. Even if they manage to win their upcoming matches against Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England, they’ll only have a maximum of 10 points. In most scenarios, that’s unlikely to be enough to secure a semi-final spot. Their fate largely depends on how other teams perform in the league stage.

To have a shot at the semi-finals, Pakistan needs to win all three of their remaining matches. But that’s just the beginning. They also need a bit of luck. They should hope for Australia, currently fourth with eight points, to lose all their upcoming games against Afghanistan, England, and Bangladesh. Additionally, Sri Lanka should lose at least two of their matches against India, New Zealand, and Bangladesh. This would keep Australia at eight points and restrict Sri Lanka to no more than six.

Another possibility is if New Zealand, currently sitting with eight points, stumbles in their remaining matches and doesn’t go beyond 10 points. This would open a door for Pakistan.

But there’s a new twist. Afghanistan’s impressive victory against Pak complicates things further. In addition to the scenarios mentioned earlier, Pak needs Afghanistan to lose at least two matches, one against Netherlands and one against South Africa. However, when Afghanistan faces Australia, Pakistan should root for Afghanistan to win but not by a margin that would make them surpass Pakistan’s net run rate.

What’s critical for Pakistan is not just winning but winning convincingly. They need to ensure that their margin of victory in these matches is significant enough to improve their net run rate (NRR). NRR is a crucial tiebreaker in case teams end up with the same number of points. So, Pakistan must not only win but do so impressively to boost their chances.

In simple terms, Pakistan faces an uphill battle. They need to win all their games and hope that other key teams like Australia, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand falter. Additionally, they need Afghanistan to both lose and win specific matches while maintaining a favorable NRR.

It’s a complex situation, and the odds are not in Pakistan’s favor. However, cricket is known for its unpredictability, and anything can happen in this game. Pakistan and their fans will be hoping for a miracle, much like the one they witnessed in 1992. Until then, they’ll have to play their best and keep their fingers crossed.

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