Cricket World Cup 2023: Our semifinal hopes are not over, says Pakistan skipper Babar

Pakistan have six points and sit in fifth place in the 10-nation table


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Pakistan batter Fakhar Zaman plays a shot during the match against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. — PTI
Pakistan batter Fakhar Zaman plays a shot during the match against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. — PTI

Published: Tue 31 Oct 2023, 9:43 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Nov 2023, 9:47 AM

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said on Tuesday that he still clings onto hope that his team can squeeze into the World Cup semifinals despite the odds stacked against them.

"Yes. We are trying to win our next two matches and let's see where we stand," said Azam after a seven-wicket romp over Bangladesh gave them a third win in seven matches.

"We will take a lot of confidence into those matches."

Pakistan have six points and sit in fifth place in the 10-nation table.

Australia, in fourth place, have eight points and a game in hand while third-placed New Zealand are third, also on eight points, having also played one game fewer.

Pakistan face the Kiwis on Saturday in Bengaluru before finishing their group campaign against England in Kolkata on November 11.

As well as two wins, the 1992 champions will need other results go their way if they are to stay in the tournament.

On Tuesday, Shaheen Shah Afridi grabbed three wickets while openers Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique made 81 and 68 respectively as Pakistan chased down a 205-run target for the loss of three wickets with 105 balls to spare.

"We know when Fahkar plays the way he can for 20-30 overs it is a different ball game. So we let him play his natural game and it is good to see," said Azam of Zaman, the only Pakistan batsman to have scored a double century in one-day international cricket.

Azam added: "We started well. Shaheen took early wickets. The main thing is we stuck to our length in the middle overs and we took wickets."

Pakistan head coach Grant Bradburn had rued how lack of swing in India had defanged his team's pace attack, usually their strong suit, in the tournament.

Bradburn must have been pleased as the pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim and Haris Rauf collectively claimed eight of the 10 Bangladesh wickets in the match.

Left-arm quick Afridi (3-23) struck with his fifth delivery, trapping Tanzid Hasan lbw for his 100th ODI wicket.

Najmul Hossain Shanto fell in Afridi's next over and Bangladesh slumped to 23-3 after Rauf (2-36) had Mushfiqur Rahim caught behind in the sixth over.

Litton Das (45) and Mahmudullah arrested the slide but the flourish Bangladesh needed did not materialise.

Shakib made 43 but Wasim claimed three wickets in his last seven deliveries to hasten Bangladesh's collapse.

Bangladesh became the first team to be eliminated after six losses in seven games.

"At this moment we have to perform together in all three departments. It's not any individual that can win us games," said captain Shakib Al Hasan.

His team still have two games to play in the round-robin stage against Sri Lanka in New Delhi on November 6 and against Australia in Pune five days later.

"We need collective performances. Two more matches hopefully we can bounce back," said Shakib, playing in his fourth World Cup.

"The fans supported us and are behind us whether we are doing well or not. We have to give something back to them so they can smile."

Brief scores:

Pakistan beat Bangladesh by seven wickets.

Bangladesh 204 all out in 45.1 overs (Mahmudullah 56, Litton Das 45, Shakib Al Hasan 43; Shaheen Shah Afridi 3/23, Mohammad Wasim 3/31, Haris Rauf 2/36)

Pakistan 205/3 in 32.3 overs (Fakhar Zaman 81, Abdullah Shafique 68, Mohammad Rizwan 26 not out; Mehidy Hasan Miraz 3/60)


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