On Tuesday, the fans witnessed one of the most incredible run-chases in ODI history as Australia’s Glenn Maxwell singlehandedly led a 292-run chase for the side, securing his side a three-wicket win against Afghanistan. Maxwell bailed Australia out of a tricky spot as the side reeled at 91/7; despite severe cramps and adverse conditions, Maxwell stayed on and smashed Afghan bowlers all around the park, eventually becoming the first Australian to score a double century as the side won with 19 balls remaining.
With a remarkable victory in Mumbai, Australia booked a berth in the World Cup semi-finals and will face South Africa in the knock-out game, regardless of all the remaining matches in the league phase. While Australia can still go 2nd in the table, both sides can neither go top of the table nor fall below the third spot; the 2nd and 3rd placed sides are scheduled to meet in the semis.
And so, with one semi-final lineup done, India now play the waiting game for their opponent in the other semi-final. While Afghanistan are still mathematically in contention for a spot in the final four, the loss to Australia has severely impacted their chances. Both, New Zealand and Pakistan have a positive Net Run Rate unlike Afghanistan, as all three sides are level on eight points with a game remaining.
Thus, there is now a possibility of an India vs Pakistan semi-final in the 2023 World Cup, and we take a look at all the scenarios that will lead to the iconic clash in the final four:
Scenario 1: Sri Lanka beat New Zealand, Pakistan beat England
In this fairly straightforward scenario, Pakistan will have to rely on Sri Lanka to beat the Kiwis, which, given the islander’s recent form, seems difficult but certainly not impossible. Babar Azam’s men will then have to win their own match against England to secure a berth in the semis. In this case, Afghanistan will have to defeat South Africa by a colossal margin to ensure a place in the knock-out round.
What if New Zealand beat Sri Lanka?
In that case, Pakistan will have to defeat the English team by a big margin as well; the Kiwis have a NRR of +0.398, while Pakistan are at +0.036. For example, if the Kiwis win by 1 run, Pakistan will have to clinch at least a 131-run win to go above in NRR.
Scenario 2: Sri Lanka-New Zealand match ends in a washout, Pakistan beat England
This could well be a possibility as the weather forecast isn’t very encouraging at the moment in Bengaluru, the venue for the match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. According to the current forecast, a thunderstorm is expected throughout the day on Thursday in Bengaluru, and a washout will effectively rule NRR out of play. New Zealand will then finish on 9 points in the table, and Pakistan can overtake the side with a win over England, thus securing a semi-final with India.
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