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Pakistan victory is not enough to keep semi-final chances alive

 

By Nick Purewal

Pakistan coasted to a 94-run World Cup victory over Bangladesh at Lord's - but bow out of the competition after failing to produce the unlikely margin of victory needed to claim a semi-final spot.

Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed had admitted Pakistan would need a "miracle" to pull off the minimum 316-run victory required to leapfrog New Zealand and into the last four.

And so it proved, as Pakistan could only muster 315 for nine with the bat from their full 50 overs.

Imam-ul-Haq hit exactly 100, while Babar Azam punched his way to 96.

Shaheen Afridi plundered six wickets for 35 runs as Bangladesh's lower-order were blown away, with Shadab Khan taking two for 59 too.

Once Pakistan had lost the chance of semi-final progression by the interval this clash naturally lost impetus.

Mickey Arthur's side still wrapped up victory in style, however, with Shaheen to the fore with the ball.

Shakib Al Hasan claimed his seventh half-century of the tournament with a smart 64 that proved in vain for Bangladesh.

Those runs moved the all-rounder to the top of the World Cup run-scoring charts, although he may be dislodged by the likes of Rohit Sharma, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Joe Root who all feature in the semi-finals.

Batting second would have ended Pakistan's semi-final charge before a ball had even been struck or bowled in anger at Lord's.

But once Sarfaraz's men had fallen short at the interval, that allowed New Zealand to breathe easy as confirmed semi-finalists.

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