Pakistan chances in World Cup 2023 semifinals are mathematically possible. However, it demands substantial improvement in its Net Run Rate (NRR).
They were up against a tough situation. To make it to the coveted semi-finals, they had to win their final match against England by a big margin. They also had to rely on specific outcomes in matches involving New Zealand and Afghanistan.
Pakistan's journey in the Cricket World Cup 2023 ended on a mixed note. They narrowly missed securing a spot in the sought-after semi-finals. Despite a commendable effort and an exciting win against New Zealand, various factors worked against them. And these left their dream of lifting the trophy unfulfilled.
A Narrow Path to Glory
Pakistan had a tough journey to the World Cup semi-finals right from the start. The tournament kicked off on a slow note for them, with a loss to arch-rivals India. However, they picked up momentum with some impressive wins. And these showed their fighting spirit and resilience.
The real game-changer was their crucial victory against New Zealand. It was thanks to Fakhar Zaman's incredible century that secured a 21-run victory. This win revived their hopes for the semi-finals. However, the situation was still tricky. They had to win their last match against England by a big margin. Also, they needed favorable outcomes in other matches involving New Zealand and Afghanistan.
Analyzing Pakistan Chances in World Cup
The top 4 teams in the ICC Cricket World Cup Points Table advanced to the World Cup semifinals. India, South Africa, and Australia had secured the first three spots in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 semifinals.
New Zealand achieved 10 points and a +0.743 Net Run Rate (NRR). They had the highest chances of making it to the ODI World Cup 2023 semifinals compared to Pakistan (8 points and +0.036 NRR) and Afghanistan (8 points and -0.338 NRR).
For Pakistan to qualify, they needed to boost their Net Run Rate (NRR) to +0.75, and there were two ways to do this:
1. If Pakistan batted first against England, they needed to beat them by 288 runs. If England batted first and Pakistan bowled first, the Men in Green needed to chase down the target with 284 deliveries remaining. The number of deliveries that Pakistan would need to spare depended on the number of runs England scored, but it was likely to be so high that achieving the necessary Net Run Rate (NRR) improvement was practically impossible.
2. The toss played a crucial factor in the Pakistan vs. England ODI World Cup match. If Pakistan bowled first, it could become practically impossible for the 'men in green' to qualify for the ODI World Cup semifinals due to the challenging NRR requirements. Even if Pakistan got to bat first, it seemed almost impossible for a 'depleted and injury-hit' Pakistan to beat England by 288 runs.
Pakistan Chances in World Cup (vs England)
Pakistan faced England in Kolkata on November 11 for their last round-robin match. At that time, New Zealand held a net run rate of 0.74. To reach 0.75, Pakistan needed to secure a victory by 287 or 288 runs when batting first. Alternatively, if they bowled first, they had to successfully chase the target with 284 deliveries to spare.
However, the situation became a bit hypothetical when Pakistan batted second. In that case, the number of deliveries to spare changed depending on the runs they conceded.
The most realistic chance for Pakistan in the World Cup was to bat first, put up a score of 400, and then limit England to 112. This combination would have pushed their net run rate above New Zealand's.
Despite Pakistan's impressive performance against England, their 56-run win fell short of closing the significant gap in net run rate. New Zealand's comfortable victory against Sri Lanka in the final match sealed Pakistan's fate. It landed them in fifth place on the points table and shattered their World Cup dreams.
A Tournament of Mixed Emotions
Although falling short of the semi-finals was disappointing, Pakistan's World Cup run had its bright spots. They showcased moments of brilliance. With standout performances from individual players like Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, they highlighted their exceptional talent. Their victory against New Zealand will surely be remembered as one of the most thrilling moments of the tournament.
Pakistan Chances in World Cup ran short and their World Cup dream had ended. However, they can take heart from their performances and use them as a springboard for future success. The team has a young and talented core. And with the right guidance and experience, they can aim for even greater heights in the years to come.
Pakistan's 2023 World Cup journey might have ended in disappointment. However, it also served as a reminder of their immense potential. The team's fighting spirit and glimpses of brilliance have left their fans hopeful for a brighter future in the cricketing world.
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