Pakistan confronts a decisive showdown against England in the ICC World Cup 2023, with their fate hanging in the balance after New Zealand’s triumph over Sri Lanka has complicated their path to the semi-finals. Captain Babar Azam radiates confidence as they gear up for this high-stakes encounter, setting aside recent debates about their form.
In a press conference, Babar Azam addressed journalists with assurance, tackling questions about the challenging scenarios for reaching the semi-finals against England. The right-handed batsman emphasized the team’s commitment to a strategic game plan, stressing the pivotal role of Fakhar Zaman’s extended presence at the crease in enhancing Pakistan’s chances of meeting the required Net Run Rate target.
“We do have planning going into the game. It is not as if you go all guns blazing from the start itself. We need to plan accordingly as to how the first 10 overs need to be played and then the next 20 overs,” remarked Babar Azam during the press conference.
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“We need to achieve those targets first, which includes partnerships and knowing which player has to spend an ample amount of time in the middle. Having said that, if you ask me, if Fakhar stays for 20-30 overs, we can achieve whatever we are being asked to,” he added.
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New Zealand’s commanding five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka has added complexity to Pakistan’s journey, extending the Kiwis’ lead in the points table. While Pakistan can match New Zealand’s 10 points, their net run rate presents a challenge. With New Zealand boasting a 0.74 net run rate, Pakistan must secure a win by a margin of 287 runs or more when batting first to reach a net run rate of 0.75.
If bowling first, they need to chase the target with 284 deliveries to spare. Speculative scenarios come into play when Pakistan is chasing, with required deliveries fluctuating based on runs conceded. The genuine opportunity for Pakistan lies in setting a formidable target by batting first, ideally scoring 400, and subsequently limiting England to 112 runs.
This strategic approach could propel Pakistan’s Net Run Rate above New Zealand’s, paving the way for a potential semi-final clash against India at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, except for Pakistan, who would play at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata if they qualify.