Manchester - When Pakistan beat South Africa at Lord's last week, they had breathed new life into a World Cup campaign that was hanging on by a thread. 

While that result was the final nail in the Proteas coffin, it was the opening that coach Mickey Arthur and his group of temperamental, unpredictable players needed. 

Wins over New Zealand and Afghanistan followed, and now Pakistan are now right back in the hunt for a semi-final spot that seemed near-impossible after they were trounced by 89 runs against rivals India in Manchester back on June 16. 

By the time Pakistan play against Bangladesh in their final pool match on Friday, they will know where they stand. 

It all depends what happens in Wednesday's clash between New Zealand and tournament hosts England at Chester-le-Street. 

If England lose that match, they will finish the pool stages with 10 points and Pakistan - currently on 9 - can qualify with a win over Bangladesh that would knock the hosts out of their own competition. 

If England win, then Pakistan can still catch New Zealand, who are on 11 points, but they are unlikely to qualify given the Black Caps' superior net run rate. 

Regardless of what happens, though, Arthur has guided this Pakistan side to the business end of the tournament when nobody gave them a shot. 

He is, arguably, the South African who has enjoyed the most success in England. 

If, somehow, Pakistan manage to get all the way through to the Lord's final on July 14 and they win a second World Cup, Arthur would have won back-to-back major tournaments having guided Pakistan to an unlikely ICC Champions Trophy crown in 2017. 

Given the challenges he faces in what is surely one of cricket's toughest coaching gigs, it would be a remarkable achievement for a man who Cricket South Africa (CSA) lost as Proteas coach in 2010. 

Pakistan still do not play any matches at home while their administrative troubles stem from the fact that their national players are some of the worst paid in the world. 

Despite that, they have a passionate support base that is often unrealistic in its expectation. 

The reaction to the India loss, for example, crossed the line with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed bearing the brunt of the senseless and bloodthirsty shaming. 

The Pakistani media are equally challenging. 

At his post-match press conference following the win against South Africa, for example, Arthur was immediately quizzed on why he had opted to go into the match without the experience of Shoaib Malik while the fitness of man-of-the-match Haris Sohail was also questioned. 

Sohail, who had come in for Malik, more than justified his selection with a blistering knock of 89 (59) that went a long way towards winning his side the game.

"Why are you always talking negatively about our players? His innings today was one of the most brilliant innings that I’ve seen. Let’s just write something positive for a change, please," Arthur pleaded. 

Arthur lives the challenges that come with his job every day, and the inconsistency in performance of his side doesn't help at all. 

On any given day, any Pakistan side can show up. 

As former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said in a recent interview with Cricinfo: "Pakistan beats whoever they want to beat, and they lose from whoever they want to. It's not Pakistan vs the opposition. Its Pakistan vs Pakistan."

Whatever happens from here, it has been a rollercoaster tournament for Arthur, Sarfraz and the team. They might not make the semi-finals but if they do, it will be in spectacular fashion and at the expense of the pre-tournament favourites. 

Arthur, who also coached the Australian national team, says that coaching Pakistan and the Proteas have been his most enjoyable jobs in cricket so far. 

When you hear him speak about his players, it is easy to see why.

"What I can tell you about those boys is that they are incredible human beings, first and foremost," he says.

"They try 100% every time we go down to a training, they are incredibly passionate about the country they represent, and they are incredibly passionate about their cricket.

"They are an absolute pleasure to work with."

With the World Cup now reaching its business end and with the Proteas out of contention, Arthur has emerged as South Africa's major success story.

It is not the way it was supposed to go, but when it comes to Pakistan, there is no way of knowing. 

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...