How Pakistan can still qualify for World Cup semi-finals?

Pakistan suffered their fourth loss in the 2023 World Cup, a thrilling one-wicket defeat against South Africa at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday. 

Despite this setback, Pakistan’s World Cup journey isn’t over just yet. Here’s where they currently stand and how they can qualify for the semi-finals.

As of now, Pakistan is in sixth place on the points table with only four points. Above them, Sri Lanka also has four points but has a better net run rate and an extra game to play. Afghanistan follows closely in seventh place with four points and a lower net run rate but an additional match in hand, just like Sri Lanka.

Pakistan has three matches remaining, facing Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England. Two of these matches will be held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, while the other is scheduled for Bengaluru.

To qualify for the semi-finals, Pakistan needs to secure three more wins in their remaining games, getting five wins and ten points. However, they also rely on other match results going their way. Here’s a scenario for their qualification:

1. India and South Africa must win all their remaining matches, resulting in eight and seven wins, respectively, depending on the outcome of their clash in Kolkata.

2. New Zealand should lose all four of their remaining games, leaving them with only four wins and eight points.

3. Australia needs to beat New Zealand but lose their other three matches against England, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, finishing with eight points.

4. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, each with two wins, should not exceed two more wins, capping their points at eight.

In this scenario, with New Zealand, Australia, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka all ending up with eight points, Pakistan would secure the third spot with ten points. This assumes that England, Bangladesh, or the Netherlands do not also reach ten points by winning all their remaining games.

While this might seem complex, it’s not impossible. In fact, mathematically, a team can still make it to the top four with only four wins and eight points. This means Pakistan could afford to lose one more game and still have a chance to qualify for the semi-finals, much like England.