Pakistan is likely to face either tournament favorites Australia or New Zealand if they qualify for the quarter finals. Pakistan currently sit in third place, and if they beat Ireland in their last group game the are likely to finish third and will face the number two side in Pool A which is Australia.
There are numerous possibilities although we’ll discuss only the most likely one’s and these are just two, either Pakistan finishes third or fourth in the group. Pakistan will finish third if they beat Ireland, however they’ll drop to fourth if they are beaten by Ireland (there’s also the possibility that Pakistan could still fail to make the quarter-finals but this will only happen if West Indies improve their net run rate to a great extent in the last game and hope that Pakistan lose badly to Ireland, a very unlikely scenario). Another unlikely scenario is that South Africa doesn’t win by a huge margin and Pakistan thrashes Ireland to achieve an even better run rate than South Africa, finish second and avoid facing both Australia and New Zealand.
It is interesting to note that during the 1999 World Cup Pakistan was supposed to face either South Africa or Australia in the final of the world cup. Pakistan had already beaten Australia in the pool match in the world cup in 1999 and the majority of the Pakistan fans wanted Australia to qualify for the final by beating South Africa. The rationale being that Pakistan is more likely to beat Australia than South Africa. The fans got their wishes and Australia qualified, however the second part of the wish remained unfulfilled as Australia thrashed an abject Pakistan in what would eventually be the first of the three consecutive World Cup crowns.
Most fans are of the view that this time Pakistan are better off not facing Australia, the Aussies are in great form, with their batsman scoring for fun and their Mitchell Starc lead pace attack destroying everything in their path. The Aussie pacers are among the most feared in the world but however it is Pakistan’s left arm pacer Wahab Riaz who has the crown of being the fastest bowler in the world cup so far.
No team can be taken lightly in the knock-out phase though and which ever team Pakistan faces, we are more than capable of beating them be it Australia or New Zealand.
Scotland v Sri Lanka at Hobart
35th Match, Pool A