Pakistan’s 2024 T20 World Cup campaign got off to a rocky start on Thursday, with the 2022 finalists shocked by tournament co-hosts USA in Dallas, Texas.

After the scores were tied at 159, the Super Over saw USA score 18 before Pakistan could muster just 13 in reply.

In a group also containing India, Canada and Ireland, this was a fixture Pakistan were expected to win. The defeat now leaves the Babar Azam-led side in a sticky situation. How much does this result affect their chances of qualifying for the Super Eight stage of the tournament?

In order to make it to the Super Eights, Pakistan will need to finish in one of the top two positions in Group A. Whether they come first or second is irrelevant, as they have already been seeded as ‘A2’, meaning they will be in Group 2 of the Super Eight, should they qualify. But this task is not as straightforward as it seemed before the loss.

In their next fixture, Pakistan will take on arch-rivals India on June 9 in New York.

What if Pakistan beat India?

A win over India will give Pakistan a much-improved chance of making the top two. Such a result would put both sides on two points from two matches, with USA already on four. However, even if Pakistan win all three remaining games, it won’t necessarily ensure qualification for the next round.

In a plausible scenario, Pakistan win all three remaining group matches (including the one against India), reaching six points. India can finish on six points by defeating USA and Canada, even if they lose to Pakistan. USA can also reach six, even if they lose to India, by beating Ireland and Canada.

Therefore, even if they defeat India and do not slip up in the other matches versus Ireland and Canada, Pakistan’s qualification could be dependent on net run rate.

What if Pakistan lose to India?

A second loss in the group stage would mean Pakistan’s chances of finishing in the top two take a massive hit. Even by defeating Ireland and Canada thereafter, they would only finish on four points in this case.

USA already have four points, and India would reach four by beating Pakistan. India and USA are yet to play each other, meaning one of those teams will reach six points (or worse for Pakistan, both reach five in case of a washout).

In short, if Pakistan lose to India they will be knocked out if the loser of the USA-India game wins their final match (i.e. if USA beat Ireland or if India beat Canada). They will be knocked out even earlier, in case USA-India is washed out.

However, the following scenario is not implausible: India win all their remaining games, Pakistan beat Ireland and Canada, Ireland beat USA. In that case, Pakistan would be tied on four points with USA, and possibly with Ireland. Then net run rate would be decisive once again. Pakistan’s net run rate stands equal to USA’s at 0.00, with only the main match scores counting towards the tiebreaker, so the margins of victory between now and the end of the group stage could prove crucial.

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