LONDON: Pakistan crashed out of the World Cup despite beating Bangladesh by 94 runs in their last group game of the tournament at Lord’s on Friday.
Teenage fast bowler Shaheen Afridi took six cheap wickets as Pakistan beat Bangladesh, clocking up their fourth World Cup win in a row but narrowly missing out on the semi-finals.
The 19-year-old became the youngest bowler to take six wickets in the history of the tournament and gave up just 35 runs in the process — the best figures for a Pakistan bowler in the competition.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq made a run-a-ball century and Babar Azam scored 96 as they set the Bangladeshis a target of 316 runs in both sides’ final group game.
After fellow opener Fakhar Zaman was out for 13, Imam and Azam added 157 for the second wicket, laying the foundations for a big total.
Mohammad Saifuddin denied Azam a century when he trapped him lbw, while Imam’s innings ended in a hit-wicket dismissal when he backed into his own stumps as he tried to flick away a ball from Mustafizur Rahman.
Mustafizur went on to claim five Pakistan wickets for 75 runs.
In reply, Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan scored his seventh half-century of the tournament — equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 2003 — before slashing wildly at a ball from Shaheen and being caught behind for 64.
That knock made Shakib the highest-scoring batsman of the World Cup with 606 runs. But Bangladesh’s other wickets fell with alarming regularity as they were skittled out in 44 overs.
“I want to say sorry for Shakib. If we stepped up, the tournament could’ve been different,” Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza told reporters.
Despite the win for Pakistan, the team’s poor net run rate meant the 1992 champions had no real chance of pipping New Zealand to the last semi-final slot.
Based on their own score, Pakistan would have had to bowl out Bangladesh for no more than seven runs to qualify for the last semi-final spot — a next to impossible task.
“We played good cricket but haven’t qualified. That one game against West Indies cost us the tournament,” Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed said, referring to their crushing opening loss.
“We have two months off and we need to do a lot of work with the team,” he added.
Australia, India, England and New Zealand have now qualified for the semi-finals from the 10-team group phase of the tournament.
The official Twitter account of the ICC Cricket World Cup confirmed that New Zealand had qualified for the semi-finals, knocking Pakistan out of the race for the top four and sending them home.
Earlier, Pakistan had retained a mathematical chance of joining Australia, India and England and denying New Zealand a spot. But that chance was lost when Bangladesh went past the seven-run mark in chase of Pakistan’s 316-run target.
A win would still put Pakistan level with New Zealand on 11 points, but their net run-rate would be markedly inferior.
The most realistic way for Pakistan to progress out of a range of unlikely scenarios would have been to score 400 and win by 316 runs. The biggest-ever men’s ODI win was by New Zealand against Ireland in 2008, when the margin was 290 runs.
Pakistan were shot out for a paltry 105 in their first match, with the West Indies winning in just 13.4 overs, meaning they took a huge hit on run rate.
They won just one of their first five matches, coming back strongly to beat South Africa, New Zealand and Afghanistan to sit fifth in the 10-team table, but in the end have left themselves too much to do.