Can Pakistan still qualify for World Cup 2023 semi-finals?

Babar Azam's team take on Bangladesh in Kolkata with last-four hopes on line

Pakistan still have an outside chance of making it to the World Cup semi-finals. AP
Powered by automated translation

It is incredible that despite the clear gap between the best and worst teams at the 2023 World Cup, we still don't know which teams have definitely qualified for the semi-finals and which sides are surely out of contention.

Sure, India have won six out of six matches and England have lost five out of six. But England can still, mathematically, squeeze into the last four.

Similarly, other teams are also harbouring hopes of securing qualification for the next stage, with varying degrees of confidence.

Pakistan, too, will be keeping an eye on the points table when they take on Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Can Pakistan still make it through?

Mathematically, anything is possible. But realistically, it is looking very difficult.

As things stand, Pakistan can, at best, finish with five wins and four defeats, provided they win their next three matches – against Bangladesh, New Zealand and England.

Even then, it might not be enough. Both New Zealand and Australia have four wins each and if both win just one of their remaining three games, it would more or less mean the end of the road for Pakistan.

India and South Africa are ahead of the pack in the points table. New Zealand and Australia all have huge net run rate advantage over Babar's team, which can't be overcome within the remaining time. So Pakistan not only need to win their remaining matches, they also require New Zealand and Australia to falter significantly, with at least one of them losing all remaining games.

Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, too, are in a similar position as the team in green, but the Black Caps and Aussies pose a more imminent threat to Pakistan's chances.

After the match against Bangladesh on Tuesday, Pakistan conclude their group stage campaign against New Zealand in Bengaluru on Saturday and England in Kolkata on November 11.

Fakhar Zaman hopeful

Despite the challenge that faces his team, opening batsman Fakhar Zaman insisted Pakistan have not given up on their World Cup dream.

Zaman said the team is drawing inspiration from the 1992 side which, under the leadership of Imran Khan, rallied after losing three of their first four games to win the World Cup.

"If you see, historically, we don't accept defeat," Zaman said.

"Everyone in the squad is hopeful of winning the last three matches and after the way we fought against South Africa we are sure of a comeback."

Zaman said he has recovered from a knee ligament injury and is available for Tuesday's match against the Tigers.

"It's disappointing to miss matches through injury because the World Cup comes every four years and I missed last year's Twenty20 World Cup with the same knee injury," he said.

Updated: October 30, 2023, 10:49 AM