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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Pakistan’s World Cup Dreams Shattered, NZ Enters Semi-Finals

Pakistan's disappointing campaign raises questions about Babar Azam's future as the captain of white-ball cricket.

New Zealand has officially booked its place in the semifinals of the 2023 Cricket World Cup after Pakistan failed to chase a formidable 338-run target set by England. The Kiwis’ qualification was confirmed as Pakistan faced the impossible task of scoring over 300 runs by the 40th ball of their reply.

Despite defeating New Zealand in a rain-hit game last weekend, Pakistan’s net run rate could not surpass that of the Kiwis. New Zealand, finishing with 10 points, will now face India in the first semifinal, setting the stage for a thrilling clash reminiscent of the 2019 edition.

India is set to meet New Zealand in the semifinals for the second consecutive World Cup, aiming to avenge their defeat in the 2019 edition. The Kiwis emerged victorious in a rain-affected match, securing a 21-run win across two days.

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In the ongoing tournament, India had previously defeated a Williamson-less New Zealand side. With Kane Williamson returning to the XI, the Kiwis pose a formidable threat. India, finishing the group stage undefeated, will enter the semifinal as the table-toppers, facing the challenge of maintaining their flawless record against the Netherlands in the final group match.

Pakistan’s hopes for World Cup glory came to an end as England chose to bat first, setting an imposing target of 338. Babar Azam and his team faced the insurmountable task of chasing it down in 6.2 overs to overcome New Zealand’s net run rate. With four losses in eight matches, including a defeat to Afghanistan, Pakistan’s disappointing campaign raises questions about Babar Azam’s future as the captain of white-ball cricket. Despite seeking guidance from cricket experts, including former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja, Azam’s potential decision to step down marks a somber note for Pakistani cricket.