time Monday Jun 24 2019
Web Desk

The numbers game: How can Pakistan make it to the World Cup semi-finals?

Web Desk

Pakistan’s thumping win over South Africa at Lord’s on Sunday has revived the team’s hopes of making it to the top four of the ongoing World Cup 2019.

After Sunday’s match, South Africa also became the second team, along with Afghanistan, to officially get knocked out of the tournament.

So what are some realistic scenarios of Pakistan reaching the semi-finals of this World Cup?

Pakistan’s campaign in this World Cup has drawn several parallels to Imran Khan’s “Cornered Tigers” from the 1992 glory. With a convincing win over South Africa on Sunday, Sarfaraz Ahmed & Co now have 5 points from 6 matches. They MUST win all three of their remaining games: against New Zealand, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. If they win all these three matches, Pakistan will end up with 11 points.

Then, Pakistan will have to hope England lose at least two of their upcoming matches, and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka lose at least one match each.

This is how the points table looks after Pakistan's victory against South Africa at Lord's on June 23, 2019.—Photo: Cricket World Cup Twitter 

So basically, apart from hoping that Pakistan win all three of their matches, Pakistan fans would also need to obsess over the outcome of England’s matches as the fate of the team is clearly intertwined with that of the hosts (who Pakistan beat at Trent Bridge earlier in the tournament).

Ok, Divine intervention, please don’t let England win more than one match?!

Hosts and favourites England haven’t quite lived up to their hype. They not only lost to Pakistan, they were also beaten by Sri Lanka, and that match quite literally opened up the points table for the other teams.

England will face India, New Zealand and Australia next – all three of which are tough teams to beat. If England lose all their remaining three matches, they would be stuck with 8 points and could face elimination.

Even if England win one of these matches, there are no guarantees for the semi-final berth, but their chances would increase. If Sri Lanka win all their remaining three matches, they can finish with 12 points and overtake England.

If England lose all three, they can still qualify if:

Sri Lanka lose all their remaining matches,

Pakistan and Bangladesh lose at least two of their remaining matches,

West Indies lose one match.

Bangladesh, please don’t win against Pakistan?

Bangladesh have 5 points from 6 matches, and are up against Afghanistan, India and Pakistan next. Pakistan need Bangladesh to lose at least one match (and, of course, Pakistan need to win all three of their remaining matches, so obviously they need to beat Bangladesh too).

If Bangladesh win all their matches, they will finish with 11 points and can still qualify if:

Sri Lanka lose all their remaining matches,

England win not more than one.

Sri Lanka, you need to lose one

Sri Lanka have 6 points from 6 matches. Their win against England catapulted them to number 5 on the points table, but all is not rosy for them yet. They have three more matches to go, against South Africa, West Indies and India.

If Sri Lanka win all these three games, they will have 12 points, cheers. But if they manage 10 points with two more wins, they will still have to hope England lose all their remaining matches, Bangladesh do not win more than two, and Pakistan lose at least one.

Wahab Riaz and Shaheen Shah Afridi share a light moment, Pakistan vs South Africa, Lord's. Photo:—AFP

If Sri Lanka lose all three, they are out.

Pakistan need Sri Lanka to lose at least one match.

(Not really concerned with) West Indies

West Indies have 3 points from 6 games and have three more matches left, against India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

Even if the Windies win all three, they will still have to rely on England to lose all their matches, and hope for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to win not more than one each, and for Pakistan to lose at least two.

Smooth sailing for NZ, India, Australia

New Zealand and India are so far unbeaten in the tournament. New Zealand are at the top of the table with 11 points from 6 matches, and need just one more win to finalise their place in the top four.

India, who have 9 points from 5 matches, need only two more wins from their remaining 4 games. They play England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh next.

Australia, with 10 points from 6 games, only need one more win to cement their place in the semi-finals. They next play England, New Zealand and South Africa.