How Pakistan can still qualify for Cricket World Cup knockouts despite South Africa setback

How Pakistan can still qualify for Cricket World Cup knockouts despite South Africa setback

Pakistan’s future in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 looks uncertain following their latest losses against Afghanistan and South Africa, as the tournament heads into the second half.

The 1992 champions have a chance to make it to the semi-finals of World Cup 2023, but their qualification will depend on the results of other teams.

Pakistan, under the captaincy of Babar Azam, kick-started World Cup 2023 with two back-to-back victories. Pakistan won their opening match against the Netherlands in Hyderabad, before completing a World Cup-record run chase against Sri Lanka at the same venue.

Pakistan, however, suffered a massive slip in form since their meeting against India, the hosts of World Cup 2023, on 14 October. A poor batting performance saw them get bowled out for 199 against India, who comfortably won the game by seven wickets inside 31 overs at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium.

The defeat against India was followed by Pakistan receiving a thrashing from Australia and a lower-ranked Afghanistan, as well as a nail-biting loss to South Africa.

Pakistan’s net run rate fell to -0.378 after suffering four consecutive losses in the ongoing 50-over World Cup. But Azam’s side is just outside the top four with six points from five matches, with three more games to go in the group stage.

Pakistan face Bangladesh next in the round-robin group stage followed by New Zealand and England.

India, New Zealand and South Africa have been on another level this campaign and the three sides already have one foot in the semi-finals. The fourth spot, currently occupied by Australia, is still up for grabs.

Here are the different scenarios under which Pakistan can qualify for the semis:

Pakistan win all three of their matches – 5 wins, 10 points

If Pakistan win all of their last three matches, it will still be a difficult route to the knockout stage. In this scenario, Pakistan will want Australia to lose at least two out of their remaining four group games. If this happens, the fate of the two sides will then be decided by the net run rate.

However, if Australia lose three of their last four matches, Pakistan will take the fourth position, or even third, which looks highly unlikely though.

Pakistan win two of their three matches – 4 wins, 8 points

If Pakistan manage just two wins from their remaining three matches, the Men in Green may very well be considered eliminated from the tournament. But due to the complicated nature of the points table at this stage, there is a possibility that one team could qualify for the semi-final even with four wins. However, such a circumstance requires multiple other results to work in their favour.

Pakistan win one of their three matches – 3 wins, 6 points

Pakistan will be knocked out of the World Cup 2023.

Pakistan lose all of their three matches – 2 wins, 4 points

Pakistan will be eliminated from the tournament.