Fakhar Zaman’s remarkable century, off 63 balls, against New Zealand on Saturday, is now the quickest ever achieved by a Pakistan batter in World Cup history. This incredible onslaught by Zaman was a game-changer, allowing Pakistan to clinch a significant victory in a rain-affected match, where they were chasing a daunting target of 402 runs.
Thanks to Zaman’s brilliant counterattack, Pakistan found themselves ahead by 21 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method (DLS) when rain interrupted the game for the second and final time at Bengaluru’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium. This result not only keeps Pakistan’s World Cup aspirations alive but also secures a spot in the semifinals for South Africa.
With only two sets of matches left for every team (excluding Pakistan and New Zealand, who each have one game remaining), India and South Africa have already secured a place in the semi-finals. In contrast, the defending champions, England, and Bangladesh are now mathematically eliminated from the competition.
How has this Pakistan vs New Zealand impacted the World Cup points table?
This was New Zealand‘s fourth defeat on the bounce and has now put them on a slope – one they need to be wary of. The best case scenario for them would be to beat Sri Lanka and hope the other sides on eight points stay there.
Now, coming to Pakistan, they would need to beat England and then would want New Zealand to lose to Sri Lanka. Also, they have to wish that Afghanistan lose a minimum of one more match. Considering all these calculations, New Zealand are the favorites to qualify for the semi final.
How NZ have an edge over PAK in the semifinal race
If New Zealand win by 10 runs or off the last ball against Sri Lanka, Pakistan will need to get the better of England by 135 runs or with 21 overs to spare respectively (assuming the sides batting first score 250).
Pakistan play their final league game after New Zealand play theirs, giving them the advantage of knowing the exact NRR scenario. Now, if Afghanistan win both their remaining matches (against Australia and South Africa) and Australia then beat Bangladesh, both Pakistan and New Zealand will stand eliminated.
Considering the form of the sides in the tournament and also the venues where the remaining games will be played in, New Zealand have to just beat Sri Lanka to make it through to the top 4.
However, rain is anticipated throughout the week in Bengaluru, and, New Zealand’s final World Cup match might be affected by weather conditions. In the event of such a washout, New Zealand would end with just nine points. Their fate would then hinge on Pakistan and Afghanistan losing their remaining matches and remaining at eight points as they will still be well ahead on net run rate.