Mathematically, Pakistan still has a chance to qualify for the semis. Practically speaking though it's more of mathematics than mathematics that Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men require to displace New Zealand from spot four.
In other words, they need to beat Bangladesh by a margin of over 300 runs to qualify for the semi-finals. If Pakistan bat first, they need to post 400 and then dismiss Bangladesh for 84. The victory margin should be 316 runs. If Bangladesh bat first, it is game over for Pakistan. In other words, Pakistan is chasing Mission Impossible at the home of cricket.
Like Pakistan, Bangladesh too can't make it. But both sides should be proud of the way they have performed. In plain simple terms, the four sides who have qualified have been the better ones, New Zealand only just. In hindsight, Pakistan would rue the fact that they did not bring in Haris Sohail earlier. His presence instead of Shoaib Malik has made a significant difference to the team.
Babar Azam has been the standout performer for Pakistan with the bat. His hundred against New Zealand was a top-class effort and he has carried the weight of the team's batting on his shoulders considering Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez have not lived up to the expectations. In the bowling, the decision to bring back Mohammad Amir proved to be the game changer. Shaheen Afridi has also impressed in the chances he has been given.
Bangladesh should be mighty pleased with the effort they have put in despite falling short of qualification. They overcame South Africa in a brilliant fashion very early in the tournament. The triumph against West Indies was even more sensational. Shakib Al Hasan has been outstanding with the bat and highly efficient with the ball, proving he is the best all-rounder of the current generation.
Among the others, the experience of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah has come in very handy. They would, however, be disappointed with the efforts of Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar, who have not done enough considering their ability. Luckily for Bangladesh, Mustafizur Rahman has led the attack admirably with skipper Mashrafe Mortaza being unable to deliver. Like Pakistan, Bangladesh too would want to finish the tournament on a memorable note.
Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c, wk), Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Fakhar Zaman
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Abu Jayed, Liton Das (wk), Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal
--By A Cricket Correspondent