Had India beaten South Africa on 30 October, they would have done Pakistan a huge favour. However, that was not to be, as Bavuma’s wards chased down a relatively modest target of 134 against Rohit Sharma’s men.
Thus, at the halfway stage of the T20 World Cup 2023 competition, Pakistan are virtually out of contention for a semi-final spot. However, die-hard Pakistan fans believe that their team could still get to the knockout stage. In this article, I consider the possibilities.
Pakistan’s Possible Route to the Semi-finals
So, can Pakistan still get to the semi-final stage? In theory, Babar Azam’s team are not out of the tournament, just yet. To get to the knock out stage, Pakistan would first have to win their remaining games. They would then have to wait for favourable outcomes in other teams’ matches.
|Assumption:||Other results favourable for Pakistan:|
|Pakistan beat South Africa, Bangladesh to finish with 6 points||1. If South Africa lose to Netherlands to finish with 5 points|
2. If India lose to Bangladesh to finish with 6 points
Assuming that Pakistan won their remaining two matches versus South Africa and Bangladesh, they would finish with 6 points and a positive Net Run Rate (NRR). They would then depend on other matches of South Africa and/ or India to end favourably.
For instance, If South Africa were to lose their last match to Netherlands, the Proteas would finish with 5 points, allowing Pakistan — on 6 points — to sneak through to the semi-finals. Another favourable result would happen if India were to lose one of their two remaining games against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. In such a scenario, Pakistan and India would be tied on 6 points each and a NRR comparison would come into play.
However, if India lost to Zimbabwe, the African nation could end up with 7 points, assuming that Craig Ervine’s wards would beat Netherlands as well.
Following Pakistan’s one-run loss to Zimbabwe, PCB head Ramiz Raja remarked that cricket can be a cruel game. Though Pakistan’s fans would like to watch their favourite side reach the semi-finals, the prospects look bleak.
South Africa vs Netherlands
Can the Netherlands beat South Africa? This seems highly unlikely. First of all, Netherlands are clearly the weakest side in the Super 12 Group 2. They are currently languishing at the bottom of the points table after losses to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Secondly, South Africa are yet to face defeat after three games. South Africa and Netherlands have met in a T20I just once in the past. The Proteas won that game, in the T20 World Cup 2014 in Chattogram, Bangladesh, by 5 runs.
India vs Bangladesh
Can Bangladesh beat India? This is equally unlikely. The two sides have met in 11 T20Is, of which India have won 9 and Bangladesh just two. The last Bangladesh victory came in Delhi in 2019 during the Bangladesh tour of India.
India vs Zimbabwe
Can Zimbabwe beat India? This is yet another unlikely result. The sides have met in 7 T20Is. Zimbabwe have won two of those, their last win coming in June 2016. In fact, the teams have not faced off in a T20I game since that match.
In my view, Pakistan are virtually out of the current edition of the T20 World Cup. India and South Africa appear well set to reach the semi-finals from Group 2.
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