ICC T20 World Cup has been highly unpredictable with rain delays and upsets. Pakistan who had been thought to be out of the competition, when they lost to India and Zimbabwe in Group 2 matches, now reached Finals of the World Cup by defeating New Zealand at SCG, Sydney. New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first. They scored 152/4 in 20 overs and Pakistan replied by scoring 153/3 in 19.1 overs and won by 7 wickets. Pakistan will meet India or England at MCG, Melbourne after 2nd Semi-Final is played Adelaide Oval on 10th November.
Going into the details, New Zealand wanted to bat first like they did against Australia and score huge. Finn Allen (4) failed disappointing fans. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Pakistan quick looked in great form. Along with him, all Pakistan bowlers tried to bowl tight lines and Devon Conway, Kane Williamson found to difficult to score quickly. Conway (21) got out and Kane Williamson is joined by Glen Phillips (6), who failed too. Finally, Daryl Mitchell and Kane Williamson came together with a 68-run partnership. But Kane Williamson scored slowly and got only 46 runs facing 42 balls. He got out trying manufacture a shot in Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 17th over. Daryl Mitchell completed 53 runs off 35 balls and Jimmy Neesham added 16 runs from 12 balls. New Zealand ended with 152/4 in 20 overs. Shaheen Shah Afridi (2/24), Mohammad Nawaz (1/12) got wickets among Pakistan bowlers.
Pakistan needed Openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, who have been failing all through tournament to come good on the D-day. They both went after New Zealand bowlers. Mainly, Babar Azam got a life off Trent Boult bowling and he went on to make opposition pay. Both scored 55 runs off 6 overs, Powerplay. They went on to put 87 runs in 10 overs and then accelerated even more. Pakistan captain, Babar Azam scored his first fifty in T20I World Cup, 50 off 38 balls. Mohammad Rizwan also scored 50 runs off 36 balls. They have put on 105 runs in 12.4 overs.
Mohammad Rizwan has been joined by Pakistan sensation Mohammad Haris and he took all the pressure off with his 30 runs off 26 balls. Shan Masood finished off the chase successfully after Mohammad Rizwan (53) and Mohammad Haris (30) got out in last overs. Trent Boult (2/33) has been unlucky with dropped catches. Mitchell Santner (1/26) got a wicket in his last over. Pskistan won the match by 7 wickets in 20th over but they always looked in control. Uncharacteristically, New Zealand looked completely off in the field.
New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson in his presentation speech said, “I thought Pakistan played nicely and then we managed to wrestle back some momentum. At the halfway mark we thought we had a competitive total but disappointing not to make Pakistan work harder. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Fielding was okay…but I think if we want to be honest, we wanted to be more disciplined with our areas. Like I said, Pakistan deserved to win.”
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam said, ” The way the team performed in the last three matches…. Thanks to the crowd, feels like we are playing at home. We had a good start in the first six overs and later on we had a good spin attack. The fast bowlers also finished very well. Our plan before going inside was to utilise the first six overs and later on everyone can come and chip in. I think he [Haris] is a young guy and showing his aggression. We will enjoy this moment, but at the same time we will focus on the final.”
Mohammad Rizwan won Player of the Match and he said, “Obviously, me and Babar decided to go after the new ball and the pitch was difficult. When we finished powerplay, the discussion was one of the guys to go deep. The guys have worked hard and we have always believed.”
Well, Pakistan have been through to Finals for the second time in a World Cup held at Australia. They won in 1992 and this time, they are in finals. Interestingly, India and Pakistan got knocked out by Australia and England in 1987 World Cup in India, when both the teams were thought to be favorites. India plays England in World Cup Semi-Final on 10th November at Adelaide and if then win and go to finals, it will be 2007 T20 World Cup repeat and a nice reversal of 1987 World Cup too. Catch us on 10th November for the India vs England match coverage.
Pakistan goes through to Semi-Finals winning against Bangladesh, nervously. Read here.