As the ICC World Cup 2023 reaches a critical juncture, Pakistan’s hopes for a semifinal spot are hanging by a thread. Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, Captain Babar Azam remains defiant, expressing optimism about their mathematical chance to advance. However, with a colossal margin required against England, the cricketing world is abuzz with discussions and amusement at the improbable scenario.
The Uphill Battle:
In a must-win clash against England in Kolkata on Saturday (November 11), Pakistan faces an uphill battle. Realistic possibilities for a semifinal berth seem all but gone, making Babar Azam’s defiant outlook a subject of both admiration and skepticism. The Asian giants must defeat England by a staggering 287 runs or secure victory in a run-chase within 16 balls to improve their net run rate (NRR) above fourth-placed New Zealand.
With the highly unlikely feat needed for qualification, the stage appears set for an India-New Zealand rematch at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Pakistan, in the wake of an underwhelming campaign, is poised to face extensive scrutiny, with Babar Azam’s inconsistent performances drawing significant criticism.
Babar’s Individual Campaign:
Babar Azam, with four fifties in eight innings, is nearing the 300-run mark in his individual campaign. However, his low-key average of 40.28 and a relatively ordinary strike rate of 82.69 have raised eyebrows in a tournament known for high-scoring encounters.
Babar Azam’s Perspective:
Addressing the media ahead of the pivotal clash against England, Babar Azam opened up about the team’s approach and his own form. Despite acknowledging the slim chances, he emphasized planning for the net run rate against England. The skipper hinted at potential changes in the batting lineup to adopt a more aggressive strategy from the outset.
Caution Amid Aggression:
While considering a more aggressive approach, Babar Azam cautioned against blind hitting, highlighting the need for strategic play against an England side fresh off a victory against the Netherlands. Stressing the importance of planned innings, Babar expressed his desire for Fakhar Zaman to anchor the crease for an extended period before attempting a sizeable score against England.