Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmad
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmad takes part in a training session at Lord’s cricket ground in London yesterday ahead of the Bangladesh clash. Image Credit: AFP

Leeds: Pakistan meet Bangladesh at Lord’s facing an impossible task of having to win by more than 300 runs if they are to go into the Cricket World Cup semi-finals. If Bangladesh bat first, then Pakistan are out even before the game begins, due to the fact they will not to be able to put the runs on the board in order to match New Zealand’s run rate. So the joke here is that Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad is practising how to win a toss rather than sharpen his skills for the match.

If Pakistan go in to bat first, then they will have to create history by scoring 400 runs and bowling out Bangladesh for 84. And should that happen, that winning margin of 316 runs will be the biggest in the history of ODI cricket. To expect Bangladesh to give away 400 runs or fold for such a low score is unlikely based on the form they have displayed in this tournament. Although they too have not made it to the last four, they did put up a fight in all their matches.

When reminded about the mathematics for Pakistan’s entry into the last stage, Sarfaraz looking agitated and remarked: “It is very difficult. The 316 runs is a big margin. Only if you are batting first, and if you can score 600 or 500 runs — I’m not sure of these calculations, but I can’t do anything about this. We’re keen to finish on a high note, so we will try our best in tomorrow’s match.”

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Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes categorically stated that his team would be aiming for a win over Pakistan. At the prematch press conference, he said: “Bangladesh versus Pakistan at Lord’s, the beautiful Lord’s. There’s no such thing as a dead rubber. Both teams are desperate to beat each other. We certainly are. I’m pretty sure they are too. They’ve got a lot to play for as well. ”

When a journalist presented the calculations for Pakistan to make it to the semi-finals, Rhodes’ response was: “All I will be saying is there’s a game to win for Bangladesh, and that’s the important thing for us.”

So would the Tigers be going full out for the match tomorrow? “I think that’s the only way I know how to play the game of cricket, which is to win. I certainly know that the players will be desperate to win, and there will be no such thing of taking it easy. This is an international match, an ODI, a World Cup game against great opposition, and Bangladesh will be doing their very, very best to win the game.”

He stressed again on winning, saying: “In Bangladesh, we’ve got the pressure of 170 million back home wanting us to win.”

Sarfaraz was reminded that the last time his team had beaten Bangladesh was in the 2014 Asia Cup and that they have lost four matches since then. All that Sarfaraz said was: “Yes, Pakistan did lose the previous four matches. But this is a World Cup match. So both teams look strong, and hopefully, we will do well as a team.”