New Delhi, Nov 9: Former Indian cricketer Sourav Ganguly on Thursday said he wants Pakistan to qualify for the semis of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 and play against India.
India became the first team to qualify for the World Cup 2023 semi-finals when they beat Sri Lanka in Mumbai. Then they hammered second-placed South Africa to ensure they would finish on top of the points table at the end of the league stage, winning 8 matches in a row.
"I want Pakistan to reach the semi-finals and play India. It can't be a bigger semi-final than that," Ganguly told Sports Tak.
The fight for the fourth position continues after Australia won a thriller against Afghanistan on Tuesday in Pune. Pakistan will play its last match against England on Saturday, they need to win the match by a big margin and hope New Zealand loses its match or gets washed out against Sri Lanka on Thursday.
Depending on the opponents, the date and venue of India's semi-final would also change. If it is against New Zealand or Afghanistan, then India's semi-final will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on November 15 but if Pakistan qualify, then India will play the semi-final at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 16.
And that is one of the biggest reasons why former India captain Sourav Ganguly wants a blockbuster India vs Pakistan semi-final.
Ganguly also said he doesn't want to jinx India's chances as they have been playing some outstanding cricket throughout the tournament.
"No, it won't be a shock (if this Indian team doesn't win the World Cup). It doesn't happen in sports like that. The entire nation is happy with the way India is playing. The way they have played in the 8 games, it appears that there is a big gap from the rest of the teams. I hope they keep playing like this. I don't think the level will drop so drastically that they will suddenly start playing poor cricket. Fingers crossed, they are looking very good" said Ganguly.
New Zealand has a slight advantage over Afghanistan and Pakistan due to their higher net run rate (+0.398). A win against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru would confirm their spot in the semis. If New Zealand loses or the match is washed out, Pakistan and Afghanistan could advance. Pakistan needs to beat England to advance to the semi-final, while Afghanistan needs to beat South Africa by 140 runs. (IANS)