Pakistan’s World Cup hopes remain alive with a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh after four straight losses. New Zealand’s massive loss of 190 runs against South Africa has further benefited Babar. Still, semi-final-fate is not in Pakistan’s hands. They have collected six points in seven matches. New Zealand is fourth with eight points in an even match. Pakistan’s fight to reach the semis is with New Zealand.
Pakistan-New Zealand face off today in Bengaluru in a battle to keep the dream alive.
Apart from winning the remaining two matches against New Zealand and England by big margins, Pakistan will have to pray that the results of all the other matches go in their favour. Pakistan also has to pray that the weather forecast proves wrong. 70 to 80 percent chance of rain in Bengaluru this afternoon. If the match is abandoned due to rain, Pakistan’s dreams of playing in the semis will end. However, as the game starts at 11 am, there is little chance of the match being abandoned even if the rain interferes.
After four consecutive wins, New Zealand’s fate is in their hands, although they are in a bit of a corner after losing their last three matches. The remaining two matches will be won. But Pakistan need to match the run-rate equation as well as win. Batting earlier today they need to win by at least 83 runs to overtake the Kiwis in net run rate. And if you chase runs, you have to win in 35 overs. Despite losing to Pakistan by six wickets in the last World Cup, New Zealand made it to the semis by going behind Babar in net run-rate. Kiwis are not worried about getting to the semis this time. Pacer Kyle Jamieson has replaced Matt Henry, who was ruled out of the World Cup with a hamstring injury.
Four others are battling injuries. But unwilling to use injury as an excuse, Kiwi batsman Darryl Mitchell said, ‘All of us in the team are aware of our roles. Kiwis will do what they always do. will turn around Don’t make any excuses. Pakistan is definitely a strong team. But we have no reason to win if we cannot play our own brand of cricket.’
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s team director Mickey Arthur claims that his team is not able to play with an open mind due to strict security in India. He is remembering the corona time! After making lame excuses, Arthur admitted the truth, ‘To be honest, we haven’t played up to our standards yet. I was able to play complete cricket only against Bangladesh. Chances were created again with a little help from South Africa. For that, first of all, the remaining two matches should be won by a big margin. That’s what we want to do.’