Pakistan are all but out of contention for a spot in the semi-finals of the 2023 World Cup. Babar Azam’s men required a minimum of 287-run margin of victory in their final match against England; however, with Jos Buttler opting to bat first in the game, Pakistan’s hopes for a top-four spot took a major hit. Ahead of the final set of matches in the group stage, Pakistan required Sri Lanka to beat New Zealand, which would’ve negated the Net Run Rate (NRR) calculations, given Pakistan defeated England. Sri Lanka, however, faced a five-wicket loss as the Kiwis finished with 10 points, and remain fourth with a higher NRR than Pakistan.
Pakistan endured a tough outing in the World Cup with losses to arch-rivals India, Australia, Afghanistan, and South Africa. Their defeat against Afghanistan drew significant criticism as it was their first loss to the side in the format; to add to their miseries, it was a rather one-sided defeat as Hashmatullah Shahidi’s men chased down a 283-run target with eight wicket to spare.
Afghanistan finished with 8 points, ending their campaign with a narrow defeat to South Africa on Friday. And former Pakistan stars Shoaib Malik and Wasim Akram believe that the Shahidi-led side played “better cricket” than Pakistan.
“Afghanistan played better cricket than us,” Malik told A Sports.
“In my opinion, if we are just sticking with this World Cup then yes Afghanistan have played better cricket than us,” said Malik.
Afghanistan registered their first win of the tournament against defending champions England last month, and went on to clinch memorable wins over Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands. The side came close to inflict a stunning defeat on Australia as well – reducing them to 91/7 in a 292-run chase – but Glenn Maxwell’s freak unbeaten 201-run knock bailed the Aussies out in Mumbai.
“Afghans looked stronger. Maybe, our boys looked fatigued because they were playing cricket continuously. Afghanistan cricketers looked better than Pakistan, there is no doubt,” Wasim Akram said.
India, South Africa, and Australia have already qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament, with New Zealand most likely to complete the lineup later on Saturday.