World Cup matchday 37: Pakistan need miracle to reach semis
The West Indies ended their campaign on a winning note against Afghanistan.
Pakistan and Bangladesh go head-to-head in a World Cup fixture where the semi-final line-up could be decided by who wins the toss at Lord’s.
If Bangladesh choose to bat first then Pakistan’s hopes of progressing from the group stage are over, as their inferior net run-rate to New Zealand would not be able to be overturned in any circumstance.
In order to progress, Pakistan would need to win by a margin of at least 316 runs. In effect, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side need an unrealistic amount of circumstances to go in their favour.
On Thursday, Asian rivals Afghanistan closed their campaign with a ninth straight defeat against the West Indies, who were inspired by Chris Gayle on what was almost certainly the 39-year-old’s final tournament appearance.
Gayle made just seven in the Windies’ 311 for six but took the crucial catch which dismissed Rahmat Shah, ending a 133-run stand with Ikram Alikhil, who was then pinned in front by the Jamaican’s part-time off-spin at Headingley.
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If that was Gayle’s final World Cup outing, he at least made an impression.
Gayle blows over
On what is likely to be his final international innings in England and almost certainly his World Cup swansong, Gayle laboured to seven off 18 balls. Gayle is ready to prolong his 50-over career, and would even countenance a Test return, but the 39-year-old has not made a compelling case to continue in recent weeks with 242 runs at an average of 30.25. However, he made a telling impression on Thursday and his experience in the heat of battle could be useful to a youthful line-up in the months and years to come.
Rashid flatters to deceive
Rashid Khan occupies a top-three place in the bowler rankings in both limited-overs formats and was therefore expected to spearhead Afghanistan’s charge. It has not turned out that way, his six wickets costing 69.33 apiece, and his miserable past few weeks have mirrored his side’s fortunes. Fatigue may be an issue after a punishing Indian Premier League campaign while the English pitches have hardly been conducive to spin bowling, but this tournament is the first setback in what has so far been a meteoric rise to prominence for the 20-year-old.
Stat’s all folks
Teenager Ikram would have been dreaming of a three-figure score but was undone by a bowler more than twice his age. However, his 86 is the highest ever World Cup score by an 18-year-old, taking the record from India superstar Sachin Tendulkar. His effort helped Afghanistan to their highest ever one-day international total batting second and their best ever in this tournament.
Top of the shots
Shai Hope has a fond affiliation with Headingley after becoming the first batsman to register a hundred in both innings of a first-class match at the ground two years ago, when the Windies memorably toppled England. He required some early fortune in his 77 as he was dropped on five but after a bedding in period, there were some sumptuous strokes. Both of his sixes were sensational drives down the ground, the second off Dawlat Zadran on the up that sailed over the bowler’s head and over the long-off boundary.
Today: Bangladesh v Pakistan at Lord’s
One to watch
Shakib Al Hasan: This has been an exemplary tournament from the Bangladesh all-rounder, who has been in a class of his own. Only India opener Rohit Sharma has bettered his 542 runs at an average of 90.33 while the left-armer is the joint leading wicket-taker among spinners with 11 victims. His individual performances mean he is desperately unlucky to miss out on the semi-finals but another strong showing at the Home of Cricket puts him firmly in contention for the man of the tournament award.