New Zealand’s 5-wicket win against Sri Lanka on Wednesday has almost quashed the semi-final hopes of Pakistan and Afghanistan. All three sides were tied with 8 points before the encounter in Bengaluru, but the Black Caps now have a 2-point lead and a superior Net Run Rate (NRR) of +0.743.
Pakistan and Afghanistan can still mathematically qualify for the semi-finals, but the scenarios required are practically impossible. Pakistan will have to beat England by a margin of 287 runs if they bat first, or bowl them out below 50 runs and chase the target of 51 in two overs if they chase. If England score 100, Pakistan will have to complete the chase in 3 overs.
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram jokingly suggested that Pakistan could lock the English dressing room for 20 minutes so that all their batters get timed out, while Misbah-ul-Haq said that it would be better to lock them up even before the game starts.
Pakistan’s form guide has been inconsistent throughout the tournament. They started with back-to-back victories over the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, but then lost to India, Afghanistan, and South Africa. They managed to bounce back with a 21-run win over Bangladesh in a rain-curtailed match, but their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals are now very slim.
Here is a more detailed analysis of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s chances of qualifying for the semi-finals:
- Pakistan’s only hope of qualifying for the semi-finals is to beat England by a huge margin. They will need to score as many runs as possible and then bowl England out cheaply. However, this is a very unlikely scenario, given that England is one of the strongest batting teams in the world.
- Afghanistan’s chances of qualifying for the semi-finals are even slimmer than Pakistan’s. They need to beat South Africa in their next match and then hope that England loses to New Zealand by a big margin. However, South Africa is a very strong team, and it is unlikely that they will lose to Afghanistan.
Overall, it is very unlikely that Pakistan or Afghanistan will qualify for the semi-finals. The Black Caps have almost secured their spot, and England and South Africa are also well-placed.