When it mattered the most, Pakistan’s captain didn’t disappoint his nation. In front of boisterous fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Pakistan made all the right moves and defeated New Zealand by seven wickets to seal their place in the final of the T20 World Cup.
It was Shaheen Shah Afridi who set the tone with his blistering opening spell, seeing off the back of the dangerous Finn Allen on the third ball. New Zealand huffed and puffed to reach 152 in 20 overs, and saw it getting overhauled in 19.1 overs.
Babar Azam and Mohamed Rizwan showed a glimpse of what they were known for until the World Cup, a tournament that has laid their shortcomings like none other. With a target not so steep to chase and a pitch not so bouncy to perturb their game, the duo enjoyed their time in the middle and took Pakistan to a safe shore by adding 105 runs for the opening wicket.
Babar Azam was the first man to depart, but he had already done more than a fair share of his job. Azam put an end to his woeful run, scoring the first half-century of his tournament. Rizwan too followed his captain’s footsteps, scoring 57 off 43 deliveries. The duo didn’t take any undue risk, not hitting a single six in their period of stay. A bit of formality, however, still needed to be done after Rizwan’s dismissal. Mohammad Haris, the youngster who played his second match yesterday took it upon himself, and
wrapped up things.
Earlier in the day, Daryll Mitchell played a commendable knock to take New Zealand to a position from where their pacers could dream of staging a fightback. But both Boult and Southee were unable to extract movement and were treated with disdain by Pakistani openers.
The fans are already salivating at the prospect of an India-Pakistan final. But for that to happen, India needs to beat England tomorrow at the Adelaide Cricket Ground. Earlier in the tournament, India defeated Pakistan by a comprehensive margin to start their campaign on a high.
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