New Zealand-Pakistan will meet tomorrow in their eighth match to keep alive the hope of playing in the semifinals of the ODI World Cup. New Zealand is better than Pakistan in the points table. Being a step behind the Kiwis, Pakistan have no other option but to win. Pakistan is fifth in the table with 6 points from 7 matches. New Zealand is fourth with 8 points from equal number of matches. New Zealand-Pakistan will play in Bengaluru at 11 am Bangladesh time.
New Zealand started the World Cup with four consecutive wins. Kiwis stopped Jayaroth after losing to India in their fifth match. Then New Zealand lost to Australia and South Africa. The runners-up of the last World Cup have lost three matches in a row.
Whatever the challenge in shaping the XI, Steed is desperate to win the battle on the field. He said, ‘We are under a lot of pressure after losing the last three matches. On the brink of securing a semi-final, fell well behind. The whole team is worried about the injuries of the players. But we have to go to the field. Either way the XI will be sorted. But our main aim is to get back on the winning streak and pave the way for a semi-final berth.’
After Pakistan, New Zealand has a match against Sri Lanka. If they win the last two matches, they will be sure of the semi-finals. Even if they win 1 match, they will have a chance of semi. In that case, Afghanistan will have to lose two matches and Pakistan will have to lose one. Otherwise the Kiwis have to calculate the run rate.
Meanwhile, after winning their first two matches, Pakistan’s path to the semis has become quite difficult as they have lost four in a row. In the last match, the team lost Bangladesh by 7 wickets and returned to the race for the semis. Pakistan will play against England tomorrow after New Zealand. Babar Azam’s team has no choice but to win the last two matches by a big margin to keep their semi hopes alive.
If they lose 1 match in this, they will have to look at many if-buts. It is not enough to win, the margin of victory must be big. Whatever the equation, Pakistan’s main objective is to win outright.