Cricket is a game of fine margins. Babar Azam and Co were cruelly reminded of the refrain as one DRS call that went against them in their clash against South Africa diminished their ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 prospects like nothing else could. Had they won that game, Pakistan would not have been facing the seemingly impossible task of clattering 338-plus runs in 6.4 overs against England in Kolkata on Saturday to qualify for the semi-finals. (Match Blog | (Streaming | Scorecard)
Forecast of rain during the New Zealand vs Sri Lanka game in Bengaluru would have instilled hope in Pakistan faithfuls of their side making the last-four stage. But bright sunshine and a rampaging Kiwi outfit washed away those hopes, and what remains is an asking rate beyond herculean. Pakistan's net run rate was 0.036 at the start of the game, and that of New Zealand (who are currently in fourth place) is 0.743.
Hence, to overtake the Kiwis and sneak into the knockout stage, Pakistan need to somehow smash 338 runs in 40 balls. Knowing the impossibility of such an equation, social media erupted with funny posts and memes about Babar Azam and Co's chances, and what the Men In Green should do to get there.
Meanwhile, disaster best describes the England ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign. Reigning champions from 2019, and boasting a squad of superstars, the Three Lions were the tournament’s biggest disappointment, delivering far below what is expected of them. Elimination confirmed, England will attempt to add to the momentum they had gained by beating the Netherlands in their previous match and finish in a respectable position.
England (Playing XI): Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler(w/c), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Gus Atkinson, Adil Rashid.
Pakistan (Playing XI): Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf