Can Pakistan still qualify for the semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2023?

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Many in Pakistan have been left with a question after the dismal performace of the green shirts in the Wrold Cup – can Pakistan still qualify for semi final 2023?

To answer that in a practical manner – NO.

Cricket fans from Pakistan have been busy doing all kinds of calculations since the team lost to a much younger Afghan side to see if Pakistan can still qualify for the World Cup semi-final, but with every passing day, the equations have become grimmer. Following New Zealand’s victory, we can be sure that the google would even be rife with questions like ‘Is New Zealand qualified for semi-final?’ in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s semi-final dreams fade as England sets a 338-run target

Pakistan’s prospects of progressing in the tournament appear increasingly unlikely. Pakistan is now faced with the daunting task of needing to defeat England by a minimum margin of 287 runs in the crucial Pakistan and England match. If England bats first, Pakistan will need to dismiss them within 3 overs, a scenario that seemingly eliminates Pakistan from direct contention for the semi-finals.

Pakistan currently holds the fifth position on the points table with a net run rate of 0.04. New Zealand’s recent triumph over Sri Lanka has boosted their net run rate to 0.74. If England scores 300 runs batting first, Pakistan will have to chase the target within 6.1 overs to overturn the deficit.

Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, acknowledged the team’s subpar performance in the World Cup and accepted collective responsibility. He plans to make a decision about his future as captain upon returning to Pakistan but remains hopeful, insisting on a strong finish in their remaining match.

In the tournament, Pakistan won their first match against the Netherlands in Hyderabad by 81 runs and their second against Sri Lanka at the same venue by 6 wickets. Their third match, played in Ahmedabad against India, ended in their first defeat, with India winning by 7 wickets. The fourth match saw Australia defeating Pakistan by 62 runs in Bangalore.

In Chennai, Afghanistan overcame Pakistan by 8 wickets in the fifth match, and South Africa narrowly won the sixth match by one wicket. Pakistan secured victory against Bangladesh in Kolkata’s Eden Gardens in their seventh match and won their eighth match against New Zealand in Bangalore by 21 runs, according to the Duckworth-Lewis method.

After the matches like Afghanistan vs Australia, England vs Netherlands, and Afghanistan vs South Africa, the cricket community wondered if anything magical could have happened for Pakistan. Questions like ‘could Fakhar Zaman or Babar Azam have played better’, ‘would Naseem Shah have proved to be Pakistan’s winning charm had he not suffered injuries’, and ‘could Shadab Khan have done any better’ stem from the simple fact that good performance eliminates the chances created by woulds and shoulds.

It is high time for self-introspection for the Pakistani team and board to turn things around.

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