Pakistan faces an uphill battle, requiring nothing short of a miracle to secure a spot in the World Cup semifinals, when they will meet England at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata today.
Following New Zealand’s resounding win over Sri Lanka, their net run rate soared to +0.743, significantly surpassing Pakistan’s current rate of 0.036. For Pakistan to qualify, they must defeat England by a staggering margin of 287 runs. If they bat second, their World Cup aspirations would end there and then, as they would need to beat England in an implausible 2.5 overs (17 balls).
On the eve of the big game, skipper Babar Azam said the equations are definitely in the back of their minds. “It’s in our mind, and we will try to do it. We will try to execute our plans and figure out how we will achieve the target,” he said.
“We can’t just go in and start firing blindly. We want that but with proper planning, how we want to play the first 10 overs, then the next 20; how we have to achieve that target,” he stated further.
“There are a lot of things in this, like partnership, which player will stay on the pitch for how long. If you ask me, I would say if Fakhar is in the match for 20 or 30 overs, we can achieve that. Then follow up with Rizwan, Iftikhar. We can do this and we have planned for this,” Babar added.
“Look, there should be hope at all times. At any stage, at any work you do, you should have positive hope, and I firmly believe in that,” he also added.
As this marks the final group stage game for England and Pakistan, they both would look to conclude the tournament on a high note with a win.
England: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler(w/c), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Gus Atkinson, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Brydon Carse
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Usama Mir, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Imam-ul-Haq