Pakistan on Thursday found themselves staring at an improbable situation for a semifinal spot in the Cricket World Cup 2023, after New Zealand’s five-wicket win over Sri Lanka with 26.4 overs to spare. Barring massive wins for Pakistan and Afghanistan against England and South Africa respectively, nothing can stop the Kiwis from locking the fourth and last semifinal berth. India, South Africa and Australia have already sealed their spots in the final four and New Zealand now have one foot into the knockout stage after their robust victory over Sri Lanka.

Currently placed fifth in the standings with eight points from as many matches, Pakistan, who will take on England in Kolkata on Saturday, will have to win by 287 runs if they bat first. If they chase, Pakistan will have to win with 284 balls — more than 47 overs — to spare.

With all odds stacked against Pakistan, New Zealand are expected to meet India in the first semifinal to be played at the Wankhede Stadium on November 15.

The second semifinal, though, is a confirmed clash between five-time champions Australia and South Africa, who along with India, have one more game remaining in the league stage.

With an impeccable record in the league stage, having won all their eight matches so far, India will be red-hot favourites against the Netherlands in their final group clash here on Sunday.

But before that, South Africa will face a sprightly Afghanistan — also almost out of the semifinal contention — in Ahmedabad on Friday while Australia will lock horns with Bangladesh in Pune on Saturday.

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NDTV

By Admin

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