Is India vs Pakistan World Cup final match possible? Here’s the roadmap to the dream encounter

Bengaluru’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium was the setting for a dramatic ICC World Cup encounter where Pakistan emerged victorious over New Zealand by a 21-run margin under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method, a victory which has reinvigorated their campaign for qualification.

The match, laden with suspense due to rain interruptions, saw Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman delivering a scintillating century, contributing significantly to the team’s powerful score of 200 for 1 in just over 25 overs. Zaman, along with Babar Azam, orchestrated a batting masterclass, propelling Pakistan to a formidable position before the skies opened up, bringing the match to a premature end.

Fakhar Zaman’s innings gave Pakistan hope. Now, they hope to qualify for the semi-finals. For that, they have to finish among the Top 4. While that still remains a possibility and not a confirmation, speculations are rife about a potential India-Pakistan final.

India stand on top of the table with 16 points from 8 matches. And, there is no other team that can replace them. The Men in Blue are scheduled to play the 4th-ranked team on the points table. If India win the semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, they’ll head for the final in Ahmedabad.

In that case, they will face the winner of the second semi-final to be held on November 16 between the 2nd ranker and the 3rd ranker. An India-Pakistan final comes with many ifs and buts, the biggest of those is Pakistan ending up either in the 2nd or the 3rd position on the points table.

There is little possibility of that happening, but there is still an outside chance. South Africa are in the 2nd position at the moment with 12 points from 8 matches. Even if they lose their next match (against Afghanistan), they may still remain in the 2nd position because of their high net run rate (NRR) of +1.376. But, they must win to make way for an India-Pakistan final.

Australia are in the 3rd position with 10 points from 7 matches. If the Aussies lose the next 2 matches (against Afghanistan and Bangladesh), they will remain with 10 points. If they win any of these two, the 2nd and the 3rd positions will be sorted, South Africa and Australia.

Pakistan must beat England. Sri Lanka have to beat New Zealand to make things easier for Pakistan. However, Afghanistan’s performance will also make a difference.

Is India vs Pakistan final possible?

The conditions stated below will make sure Pakistan finish in the 3rd position. Australia or Afghanistan will be in the 4th position in that case.

Team Current Points Remaining Matches Potential Points After Matches Remarks
Pakistan 8 1 (must win) 10 NRR must improve to surpass others
Australia 10 2 (must lose both) 10 PAK’s NRR should be highest than AUS
South Africa 12 1 (must win) 14 Remain in number 2
New Zealand 8 1 (win/lose) 10 or 8 If NZ win, PAK should have higher NRR. NRR won’t matter if NZ lose.
Afghanistan 8 2 (must win one, lose one) 10 AFG beat AUS but lose to SA. PAK must have higher NRR.

The above-mentioned possibilities will take Pakistan to the 3rd position. The Men in Green need to win the semi-final against South Africa (to be held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata) to meet India in the final.

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Updated: 06 Nov 2023, 03:11 PM IST

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