KOLKATA: During the critical match against England at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 11, Pakistan captain Babar Azam found himself in a paradox of emotions as he broke into laughter at the toss.
Pakistan’s chances of reaching the semifinals depended on batting first, but those hopes were shattered when England won the toss and opted to bat.
In anticipation of their final group stage game, Babar had emphasized the team’s preparation for the Net Run Rate scenario. Expressing confidence, he stated that achieving their NRR goals relied on Fakhar Zaman’s substantial presence at the crease for 20-30 overs.
The challenging scenarios laid out by Pakistan to keep their semifinal dreams alive included restricting England to various targets and achieving the chase within specified overs:
Restrict England to 20 and chase within 1.3 overs
Restrict England to 50 and chase within 2 overs
Restrict England to 100 and chase within 2.5 overs
Restrict England to 150 and chase within 3.4 overs
Restrict England to 200 and chase within 4.3 overs
Restrict England to 300 and chase within 6.1 overs
Despite their strategic planning, Pakistan faced a turbulent campaign in the 2023 World Cup, marking the first time in ODI World Cup history that they lost four consecutive matches.
The unexpected defeat against Afghanistan and a narrow loss to South Africa in Chennai, a match they were poised to win, contributed to their downfall.
Speaking in the pre-match press conference, Babar Azam pinpointed the South Africa game as the turning point that cost them the tournament. As Pakistan reflects on a challenging World Cup journey, their focus now shifts to future opportunities for redemption and improvement on the international stage.