In a decisive encounter affected by weather, Pakistan edged out New Zealand with a 21-run victory under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method in Bengaluru, enhancing their prospects of securing a Cricket World Cup 2023 semifinal spot. Fakhar Zaman’s exhilarating century, paired with Babar Azam’s solid half-century, propelled Pakistan ahead of the DLS par score before rainfall interrupted the match.
Crucial Points Earned Amid Stiff Competition
This win brings Pakistan’s points tally to eight, allowing them to overtake Afghanistan for the fifth position in the points table. The Pakistan cricket team, led by Babar Azam, is now neck and neck with New Zealand in terms of points after playing the same number of matches. However, New Zealand maintains a superior Net Run Rate (NRR), which could be pivotal in the event of a tie in points after the final games.
The Race for Semifinals: A Tightrope Walk for Contenders
The road to the semifinals is fraught with ifs and buts. Pakistan’s passage to the next stage is contingent upon a win in their final game against England and a New Zealand defeat by Sri Lanka. Conversely, should both teams triumph in their final fixtures, NRR will serve as the tiebreaker to determine the higher finisher.
Afghanistan, still in the mix, also holds eight points with two matches left to play. Their future hangs on the outcomes of their games against heavyweights Australia and South Africa. A dual victory would cement their position in the semifinals. Nonetheless, if they falter in one game while Pakistan and New Zealand win theirs, a three-way tie with 10 points each will bring NRR into play once again.
Australia, currently holding the third spot with eight points but with more games left, faces the possibility of dropping out of the top four if they lose all their remaining matches. This scenario would pave the way for two among Pakistan, New Zealand, and Afghanistan to ascend to the semifinals.
Quotes Unchanged and Contextual Integrity Maintained “We are focused on carrying the momentum and performing at our best in the upcoming matches,” stated Babar Azam, reflecting confidence and determination. Kane Williamson also weighed in, highlighting the competitive nature of the tournament: “Every game is crucial, and we aim to come back stronger against Sri Lanka.”