Things are going from bad to worse for Pakistan. After defeats to India and Australia, the Green Shirts suffered another thrashing at the hands of tournament minnows Afghanistan on Monday.
The Babar Azam-led side were huge favourites to win the 22nd match of the ICC World Cup 2023, but they were completely stunned by the brilliant performance of their opponents.
Babar has recently come under much criticism but he made a comeback on Monday, hitting 74 off 92 balls.
Abdullah Shafique also completed his half-century while late heroics from Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed pushed the total to 282 in 50 overs.
But Afghanistan had no trouble chasing down the target as their batsmen completely outclassed the bowlers at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
A brilliant 130-run opening stand between Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran put them in a commanding position before Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi took them to an eight-wicket victory.
Can Pakistan still qualify for the ICC World Cup 2023 semi-final?
Pakistan have now lost three consecutive matches and find themselves behind South Africa and Australia, despite playing a game more.
India are six points ahead of the Green Shirts, with New Zealand four and Africa two. The 1992 world champions are still in contention to reach the semi-final but they cannot afford to lose any more games.
Pakistan failed to make it to the final four in the 2019 World Cup despite registering five wins. With rain not expected to be a major factor in the tournament, they need six victories or hope that other results go in their favour to qualify for the semis. The Green Shirts will also have to improve their Net Run Rate which is currently in the negative territory.
Winning all their next four matches will be a huge task for Babar and co. considering the teams they will come up against. South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England will be the opponents in their next four fixtures.
Pakistan will now need a tremendous turnaround to qualify for the ICC World Cup 2023 semi-final. The task is still possible but it is certainly not likely.
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