Off The Field

‘We can be in World Cup semi-final’: Babar Azam explains how Pakistan can do the impossible to qualify

Written by Praveen CA

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said Fakhar Zaman would be a key man if they have to achieve the impossible-looking margin of victory against England in their last World Cup 2023 group-stage match against England at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday. New Zealand (10 points in 9 matches) look set to play the semi-final against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on November 15 thanks to their higher net run rate unless Pakistan pull off a miracle.

For starters, they need to win the toss and bat because if they field they would need a bigger miracle. We will come to this later. Let us talk about the scenarios if Pakistan bat first. Pakistan have to win by margin of 287 runs or 288 runs. They will have to score in excess of 400 in order to have a realistic chance. If they score 400, they will have to bowl England out for 112. If Pakistan’s score is 300, then they will have to bowl England out for the lowest-ever total in cricket of 13.

If Pakistan bowl first. their chances are next to impossible. Even if they bowl out England for 100, they need to chase down the total in 2.5 overs, meaning win with 283 balls to spare.

On the eve of the match, Babar said the equations are definitely in the back of their minds. “It’s in our mind and we will try to do it. We will try to execute our plans and how we will achieve the target.

“We can’t just go in and start firing blindly – we want that but with proper planning, how we want to play the first 10 overs, then the next 20 – how we have to achieve that target.

“There are a lot of things in this, like partnership, which player will stay in the pitch for how long. If you ask me, I would say if Fakhar is in the match for 20 or 30 overs, we can achieve that. Then follow up with Rizwan, Iftikhar. We can do this and we have planned for this,” Babar said.

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Praveen CA