Former India player Irfan Pathan expects New Zealand to qualify for the 2023 World Cup semi-finals ahead of Pakistan if rain doesn’t play spoilsport in their clash against Sri Lanka. The Kiwis will take on Sri Lanka in Bengaluru on Thursday, November 9. A win will give the surety the Black Caps a semi-final berth because they have a much superior run rate than Pakistan and Afghanistan, the other two teams who are in the race as well.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Pathan said: “New Zealand have a higher percentage chance of winning, it is more than 50%. The only problem is rain. Rain has helped Pakistan earlier. We will have to see if the Bangalore rain helps them again. I feel the toss will also be extremely important for New Zealand because chasing is always better on this pitch. There are a lot of factors. However, I will still say that despite all the difficulties, New Zealand will be the fourth team.”
While New Zealand have a net run rate of +0.398, Pakistan and Afghanistan have net run rates of +0.036 and -0.338 respectively as well. A win for New Zealand against Sri Lanka will make it virtually impossible for the others to beat them for a semi-final berth. Irfan Pathan also opined on the New Zealand vs Sri Lanka match as well.
“I am seeing Angelo Mathews’ Sri Lanka. They are looking a little pumped up. A little sourness is being seen in them. I saw the press conference as well. We saw the Angelo Mathews incident as well. When he took Shakib Al Hasan’s wicket with the ball, it was evident that the incident had hurt him. Sri Lanka will definitely want to leave an impact before leaving. However, I will still say that New Zealand are ahead but they cannot take Sri Lanka that lightly,” Irfan Pathan concluded.