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World Cup matchday 38: Australia and India vie for top spot

Australia can top the table with a win over South Africa but if they slip up, and India beat Sri Lanka, Virat Kohli’s side will finish out front.

Pakistan were unable to pull off a miracle in their bid to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals. (Tim Goode/PA)
Pakistan were unable to pull off a miracle in their bid to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals. (Tim Goode/PA)

Australia can seal top spot and a semi-final against rivals New Zealand with victory over South Africa at Old Trafford on Saturday.

India, who face Sri Lanka at Headingley as the round-robin stage of the World Cup comes to a close, know if they win and the Aussies slip up then they will lead the way and take on the Kiwis.

Whichever side finishes second at the end of the group stage will face England in the other last-four clash.

Pakistan, meanwhile. coasted to a 94-run victory over Bangladesh at Lord’s on Friday. but bowed out of the competition after failing to produce the miracle that was required to leapfrog New Zealand into the last four.

Tweet of the day

Following Pakistan’s exit, Shoaib Malik confirmed his retirement from ODI cricket. The 37-year-old all-rounder played 287 ODIs, scoring 7534 runs and taking 158 wickets.

Snap shot

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Shaheen Afridi (Tim Goode/PA)

Tournament tracker

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Stat attack

Shakib Al Hasan brought up 50 from 62 balls, to reach his seventh half-century in the tournament, equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record set in 2003.

Shakib joins World Cup elite

  1. Sachin Tendulkar, India - 2278 in 44 innings
  2. Ricky Ponting, Australia - 1743 in 42 innings
  3. Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka - 1532 in 35 innings
  4. Brian Lara, West Indies - 1225 in 33 innings
  5. AB De Villiers, South Africa - 1207 in 22 innings
  6. Chris Gayle, West Indies - 1186 in 34 innings
  7. Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka - 1165 in 37 innings
  8. Jacques Kallis, South Africa - 1148 in 32 innings
  9. Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh - 1146 in 29 innings
  10. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka - 1112 in 25 innings

Despite the fact his side have not made the semi-finals, it will be hard to overlook Shakib as the player of the tournament. The all-rounder has been phenomenal with the bat, amassing 606 runs – the highest haul of the competition as things stand – with two centuries and five 50s, with his lowest score of 41 in his eight innings.

His 64 on Friday saw him move into the top 10 World Cup run-scorers of all time, passing greats of the game Javed Miandad, Adam Gilchrist, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan in the process. He is now ninth on that list, falling just two runs short of eighth-placed Jacques Kallis.

When you consider the spinner is also 20th on the all-time World Cup wicket-taking list, Shakib is quite the cricketer.

Shaheen shines on the biggest stage

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Shaheen Afridi has had a superb World Cup (Nigel French/PA)

Unrecognisable from the run-of-the mill bowler who faced down England in pre-tournament warm-up matches, Shaheen Afridi has announced himself as a genuine pace ace in this World Cup. The 19-year-old, who has grown into this competition, stunned the Lord’s crowd with a fine six-wicket haul.

The teenager duly became the youngest man to claim five wickets in World Cup action, while also taking five in an ODI for the first time in his career.

It is a shame Shaheen will not now have the chance to bring his red-hot form to bear in the knockout stages.

Arthur insists Pakistan have bright future

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Mickey Arthur’s contract is up (Simon Cooper/PA)

Pakistan boss Mickey Arthur took the chance for some grandstanding in the post-match press conference – just in case his contract is not renewed.

His deal has expired but he hopes to sign on for more.

Whether failing to reach the semi-finals will count against him remains to be seen, but before all that, he set out his view of Pakistan’s future.

An upbeat Arthur insisted Pakistan can be a growing force, hailing his young side’s improved performances and poise as the tournament progressed.

Shot of the day

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Mohammad Amir showed his batting ability. (Tim Goode/PA)

Seamer Mohammad Amir showed his batsmen colleagues the way to handle the in-form Mustafizur, lashing a textbook cover drive for four despite coming under pressure from Bangladesh’s top performer.

Ball of the day

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Mahmudullah had no answer to the yorker. (Tim Goode/PA)

Shaheen was sensational in helping Pakistan storm through the Bangladesh lower order and produced a phenomenal, searing yorker to clean bowl Mahmudullah. It was an unplayable delivery from a young bowler at the peak of his form.

Quote of the day

There's going to be a review now and we'll see how that goes. So if I were to leave, my message again is 'let's stay positive'. We've got some very young cricketers who are going to be champion players. So let's back them. Mickey Arthur

Pakistan boss Mickey Arthur urges fans not to hit out at his side’s failure to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

What’s next?

Today: Sri Lanka vs India at Headingley 1030; Australia vs South Africa at Old Trafford 1330.

One to watch

Mitchell Starc: Australia’s seam master tops the World Cup wicket charts with 24 victims already. His express pace and ability to move the ball off the pitch has ripped through every other team to date, with South Africa next to stand in his way. Victory will put Australia top of the pile and would secure a semi-final clash with New Zealand. Australia’s form has been ominous for the other teams ahead of the semi-finals, with Starc central to their resurgence. In tandem with Jason Behrendorff, he has helped Aaron Finch’s men dominate the competition so far.

Table

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