Pakistan depends on the result of this match to reach the semi-finals.Image Credit source: AFP
For more than a month, the Pakistani team has been in India for the World Cup 2023, where its performance has not been good. Pakistani team director Mickey Arthur had cited security reasons as one of the reasons for this, because the team was not getting a chance to roam freely. This opportunity came on Wednesday 8th November in Kolkata, where some players went shopping and captain Babar Azam played golf. The weather was kind to the Pakistan team in Kolkata, but Babar Azam needed the help of the weather hundreds of kilometers away in Bengaluru, where only water would help his luck.
The Pakistani team had to struggle a lot to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup 2023 and still has not got this ticket. There is still a possibility that the journey of Babar Azam and his team will end in Kolkata itself, where they will play their last match in the league round on Saturday, 11 October. Before that, even without taking the field, Thursday 9 November will be an important day for Pakistan because its closest rival in the race for the semi-finals will be New Zealand.
New Zealand needs victory
New Zealand and Sri Lanka will face each other on Thursday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. This is the last match of both the teams in the league round. Sri Lanka is already out but New Zealand’s hopes remain intact. If it wants to reach the semi-finals, it will not only have to defeat Sri Lanka, but will also have to hope for the defeat of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The bigger margin New Zealand wins, the more it will benefit because it will put pressure on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Pakistan has hope from the weather
However, the bigger challenge for New Zealand than Sri Lanka at the moment is the weather in Bengaluru and this is where Babar Azam and his Pakistani team will aspire. From Pakistan’s point of view, the best thing would be if Sri Lanka somehow defeats New Zealand. If this is not a possibility then Pakistan would wish that there should be so much rain that the match gets cancelled.
Actually, the reason behind this wish is the weather of Bengaluru, which has given Pakistan this hope. There has been a lot of rain in Bengaluru for the last few days. Even on Wednesday, the Kiwi team could not practice during the day due to rain. As far as Thursday is concerned, the Meteorological Department estimates that it may rain around 9 am. After this, heavy rain is expected after 2 pm, which may continue in the evening also.
Still a big work has to be done
In case of cancellation of the match, New Zealand and Sri Lanka will get 1 point each. With this, New Zealand will get 9 points and will go ahead of Pakistan. In such a situation, Pakistan just needs to defeat England in its next match, whatever may be the margin. However, it is not that the cancellation of the match due to rain will make Pakistan’s path easier. If Pakistan loses its match, then despite the canceled match, New Zealand or Afghanistan (if they beat South Africa) will reach the semi-finals. Therefore, the most important thing for Pakistan is the defeat of New Zealand.