World Cup 2023: ‘Can’t get bigger…,’ Why Sourav Ganguly wants Pakistan to reach semi-finals to play India

Rohit Sharma-led Indian Cricket Team became the first team to qualify for the World Cup 2023 semi-finals after beating Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. 

Till now, India have played 8 matches in the ongoing tournament beating every team it faced and is seated at the top position on the points table. India have one more league match left with the Netherlands on 12 November, before it get to play its semi-final with the undecided team at Wankhede Stadium on 15 November.

With Australia and South Africa confirmed to play the semi-final with each other, it is expected that India’s opponents would be either Pakistan or New Zealand or Afghanistan. Looking at the points table, Sri Lanka, England, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands have no chance of qualifying for the semis.

But former Indian skipper and ex-BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly wants to see a blockbuster of India vs Pakistan semi-final at Eden Gardens. His home turf can get to host India in the knockout stage of this World Cup only if Pakistan qualify.

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“I want Pakistan to reach the semi-finals and play India. It can’t be a bigger semi-final than that,” Hindustan Times quoted Sourav Ganguly as saying to Sports Tak.

It is to be known that before the ICC World Cup 2023 tournament began, it was decided the venue of Pakistan’s semi-final would be Kolkata irrespective of their standings and opponent.

Now there is one more thing that may concern fans. If India plays against New Zealand or Afghanistan, then the match will take place at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 15 November. However, if Pakistan qualify, then India will play the semi-final at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on 16 November.

On the Indian cricket team:

Though happy with the team’s performance, Ganguly said he doesn’t want to jinx India’s chances.

“No, it won’t be a shock (if this Indian team doesn’t win the World Cup). It doesn’t happen in sports like that. The entire nation is happy with the way India is playing. The way they have played in the 8 games, it appears that there is a big gap from the rest of the teams. I hope they keep playing like this. I don’t think the level will drop so drastically that they will suddenly start playing poor cricket. Fingers crossed, they are looking very good,” HT quoted Ganguly.

Qualification scenarios for Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan:

Looking at the points table, New Zealand appear to have a slight edge over Afghanistan and Pakistan, with a higher net run rate (+0.398). If they win against Sri Lanka on 9 November, it would more or less confirm their spot in the semis. But, losing or the match match is washed out, it will open the doors for both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In case NZ fails to qualify, Pakistan need to beat England on Sunday to advance to the semi-final. Currently, its run rate (0.036) is lower than New Zealand’s but much higher than Afghanistan’s (-0.338).

Scenarios say if Pakistan beat England by a run, then Afghanistan will have to beat South Africa by 140 runs to go past Pakistan’s NRR.

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Updated: 09 Nov 2023, 05:27 PM IST

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