Losing against Australia was turning point, rues Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed

Sarfaraz Ahmed
Sarfaraz Ahmed. (Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images)

While England’s two consecutive defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia had brought their semi-final chances under cloud, they were back on track by beating India and New Zealand in a row. The hosts’ temporary slump had kept Pakistan, who won three back-to-back games after a poor start, interested till the last moment. They even replaced England in the fourth position in the points table after beating Afghanistan on Saturday but Eoin Morgan’s side was back into the top four by beating India.

Pakistan’s prayer fell on deaf ears both when England took on India and New Zealand. Had the hosts lost in any one of those two matches, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side would have a chance to pip them to make the semi-final by beating Bangladesh in their remaining game on Friday. But that didn’t happen and now Pakistan face an almost impossible mission to make the last four by pipping New Zealand.

The Black Caps, despite their three consecutive losses, still have a far better net run-rate (NRR) than Pakistan who are in the negatives, and to overtake them, the Men in Green will have to beat Bangladesh by an unlikely margin, say for example by 300 runs. The biggest victory margin in terms of runs till now is 290 (New Zealand had beaten Ireland in July 2008). Pakistan certainly have to break all records to make an unlikely entry into the top four.

Sarfaraz not too concerned about unrealistic NRR ask

Sarfaraz has kept a realistic check on the scenario though. He stated it wouldn’t be wise for his team to think about the NRR. “Obviously we are here to win all the matches. We will do our best to win the last game as well. We will do our best but we need to be realistic. If you score 600, 500 or 400 score on a pitch then you think you can get the other team out for 50? It will be tough but we will still give it a try,” the wicketkeeper-batsman stated ahead of their last league game.

Sarfaraz rued that losing the game against Australia in Taunton on June 12 perhaps cost them a spot in the semi-finals. Pakistan had Australia under pressure and got them all out for 307 after they were 189 for 2 with David Warner slamming a hundred. Pakistan were well placed at 136 for 2 at one stage but slumped from there to 200 for 7 before some heroics from Wahab Riaz (45).