What Pak’s Win Over NZ Means to Both Teams’ Qualification Chances
Babar Azam's maiden World Cup century and Shaheen Afridi's performance with the ball helped Pakistan secure a 6-wicket win over New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Chasing a target of 238 on a tricky pitch, Babar ended unbeaten on 101 off 127 balls. He shared a 126-run stand with Haris Sohail, who was dismissed in the penultimate over of the match on 68. Earlier in the first innings, Shaheen Afridi starred with figures of 3/28 in his 10 overs as Pakistan reduced New Zealand to 83/5 by the 27th over. James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme then put up a 132-run stand to give their bowlers something to fight for. However, it was not to be as Azam ensured Pakistan stay alive in the tournament with their third victory.
After the match, New Zealand remain at the second position in the standings with 11 points from 7 games.
Pakistan move up one place to sixth with 7 points. They are tied with Bangladesh who have also played 7 matches and won 3, lost 3 and had one match washed out.
Pakistan though have a good chance of making the cut for the semis since their 2 remaining matches are against Bangladesh and Afghanistan. If they were to continue on like they played today in Birmingham, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s team would have 4 more points by the end of the group stage, taking their total tally to 11 points.
However, for them to qualify, Pakistan will need either New Zealand, India or England to stumble and lose some of their remaining group stage matches.
England in fact could be most in danger of conceding their top 4 slot to Pakistan as they play India and Australia next, teams they haven’t beaten at a World Cup since 1992. If England do end with 8 points and Pakistan win their remaining matches, it would be an easy route to the semis for Sarfaraz’s men.
Simply put, for Pakistan to reach the semis, they simply need to perform at the level they did today and win both their matches and hope the other teams stumble.
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