Pakistan lived to fight another day after beating New Zealand by six wickets on Wednesday at Edgbaston in their seventh 2019 World Cup match.
Babar Azam produced a sublime unbeaten century under pressure as Pakistan continued its revival in the World Cup by halting New Zealand's unbeaten run.
Chasing 238 on a tricky Edgbaston pitch which offered vicious turn, Azam (101) and Sohail (68) showed intent, temperament and resolve while batting in Pakistan's must-win game.
They raised a 126-run stand for the fourth wicket after Mohammed Hafeez's dismissal off a part-time spinner, yet again, raised eyebrows and Mitchell Santner looked almost unplayable.
Now they have seven points from equal number of games and will need to beat Bangladesh and Afghanistan to at least stay in contention for a semi-final spot. And, also hope that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, who are seventh in the table, lose their games.
However, if Bangladesh lose to India and Pakistan beat the Bangla Tigers as well as Afghanistan, the equation becomes much simpler for Pakistan as currently, Bangladesh are ahead of them in the points table.
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) June 26, 2019
But, former Pakistan cricketer Basit Ali feels India, who more or less have a stronghold in the race for top-four along with Australia and New Zealand, will underperform against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka intentionally so that Pakistan don't go through to the next round.
"India have played only five matches so far and they would never want Pakistan to qualify for the semi-final. India's remaining matches are against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and everyone saw the way they played against Afghanistan," Pakistan-based ARY News quoted Basit as saying.
He went on to add that Pakistan should, however, focus on their own game.
"I personally feel Pakistan should only focus on their next match against New Zealand."
"People don't say that they will lose intentionally but India will play in such a way that people won't be able to make any remarks. When playing Australia, David Warner didn't play at all.”
"Cricket is not a game of chance. In 1992, New Zealand purposely lost to Pakistan (in the league stage) and Imran Khan would agree with that. The Kiwis lost so they could play the semi-final in their own country."