Cricket World Cup: So near yet so far for Pakistan

Some serious work needs to be done if they want to become a formidable force again

By Anis Sajan

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam attends a practice session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. — AFP
Pakistan captain Babar Azam attends a practice session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. — AFP

Published: Thu 9 Nov 2023, 8:33 PM

Four years ago in England, Pakistan missed out on a place in the semifinals to New Zealand was because of their poor net run rate.

Both teams had won five games, lost three and there was one wash out game due to rain.

But the match which dented Pakistan's net run rate was the first game they lost to West Indies very badly and they could never recover to get past New Zealand in spite of winning their last four games.

This World Cup the door is almost shut for Pakistan and once again it's New Zealand who have almost pipped them because of net run rate.

New Zealand have won five and lost four games this year and Pakistan who are due to play England on Saturday in their last league game have to win by 287 runs.

And if they chase a target of 150 against England it needs to be done in 3.4 overs.

This scenario is next to impossible and once again Pakistan will rue the fact that they did not learn from their mistakes which they committed four years ago in England.

Their margin of defeat to India was a big one which dented their net run rate, and they could never recover from that loss and lost four consecutive games and by the time they could recover it was too late.

After starting the World Cup campaign with two wins, Pakistan went downhill and lost to India, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa and the reason for their loss was failure in all departments — be it batting, bowling and fielding.

Their batting collapsed against India from 155/2 to 191 all out and their bowling leaked runs at more than 6.5 runs in almost every game and their fielding was below standard.

There will be blame games now and Babar Azam will be surely facing the brunt of hostile media and fans like Sarfraz Ahmed faced after the exist in the 2019 World Cup.

Heads will roll and won't be surprised if there will be a complete overhaul of the team.

That's how things work in Pakistan cricket.

But most importantly can Pakistan learn from the mistakes?

They have made it to the semifinals only in 2011 after being runners-up in 1999.

Some serious work needs to be done if they want to become a formidable force again.


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