New Zealand are the only team in the Top Four not to have a “Q” next to their name because, in theory at least, they have not yet qualified. They probably have realistically but there is a theoretical chance that Pakistan can do something incredible and get there. To find out just how theoretical it is, we’ve done the calculations and worked it out exactly.
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Step (1): The game against Bangladesh must go ahead.
If there is any rain in the air at all, Pakistan are probably knocked out.
Step (2): Pakistan must win the toss.
If Bangladesh wants to play spoilsport, all they need to do is to call correctly. The moment that Mashrafe Mortaza wins the toss for Bangladesh, the match is over. Presuming that he decides to bat first, of course, as Pakistan need to bat first to be any chance at all.
Step (3): Pakistan must bat first.
If Pakistan field first, there is no theoretical chance for them to qualify. They could bowl Bangladesh out for 3 and get the runs off the first ball, which can be a no ball, and they still wouldn’t qualify. Fingers crossed that Sarfaraz Ahmed gets the instruction that they need to bat first.
Step (4): They must score at least 450.
It’s a pretty stiff ask, given that the world record is 481, and Pakistan’s highest ever ODI score is 399, but 399 is almost certainly not enough here. It might be, as they only need to win by an estimated 311 runs, but if they get 399 then that means bowling Bangladesh out for 87, and that’s very hard to do. 450 must be the minimum.
Step (5): They must bowl Bangladesh out for 311 runs less than that.
Assuming that they score 481, they must bowl Bangladesh out for 170. It’s tough but it’s possible. The margin required may differ slightly depending on how many runs that are scored. We won’t know until they’ve scored it. With 481 scored, they may need to bowl Bangladesh out for 160, perhaps. If Pakistan “only” gets their highest ever score of 399, then they need to bowl Bangladesh out for 88. Hard as it is to score 481, it’s harder to bowl Bangladesh out for 88.
There you go. It’s near to impossible, but it is possible.
If only this tournament had the semi-finalist decided by who beat who, as they have had in World Cups past, net run rate wouldn’t make a difference, as Pakistan beat New Zealand when they faced each other. Sadly for Pakistan, in this tournament they went with net run rate as the decider, not head to heads.