T20 World Cup: Australia break Pakistan hearts to reach final

Australia's Matthew Wade hits a six during the semifinal against Pakistan. (AP)
Australia's Matthew Wade hits a six during the semifinal against Pakistan. (AP)

Wade brutally killed Pakistan's hopes by hitting star fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi for three straight sixes



by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Thu 11 Nov 2021, 9:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 Nov 2021, 9:55 PM

A stupendous fightback from Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis scripted a stunning five wicket win for Australia over Pakistan in the second semifinal of the T20 World Cup on Thursday.

Chasing 177, Australia were in deep trouble at 96 for five after 12.2 overs.

But Stoinis (40 not out off 31 balls) and Wade (41 not out off 17 balls) turned Australia’s fortunes around despite the steep asking rate.

The two batsmen kept their calm and picked the right moments to go for the attacking shots.

With 22 needed from the last two overs, Wade brutally killed Pakistan’s hopes by hitting star fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi for three straight sixes as Australia reached home with six balls to spare.

Australia will now play New Zealand in the final on Sunday.

Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan’s fantastic stroke-play in the top order and Fakhar Zaman’s stunning assault on the Australian attack in the death overs were the two dominant factors in Pakistan’s reaching a challenging total.

On a wicket that offered little support to the Australian bowlers, it was skipper Babar Azam (39 off 34 balls, five fours) who gave Pakistan an impressive start.

Whether it was Mitchell Starc (4-0-38-2), Pat Cummins (4-0-30-1) or Josh Hazlewood (4-0-49-0), who failed to make any impact on Thursday, Babar played textbook shots setting the tone for his team’s big score.

Rizwan was slow to get off the mark. Having played first successive dots, Rizwan danced down the wicket to hit Glenn Maxwell out of the park only to mistime his shot.

Warner, running backwards from mid-off, tried his best but failed to hold onto the catch as the ball rolled onto the boundary.

The wicketkeeper-batsman then began to open up as Babar continued to find the gaps with immaculate timing.

After Babar fell to leg-spinner Adam Zampa, Rizwan began playing with more freedom. He also found a good partner in Zaman (55 not out off 32 balls).

The left-handed Fakhar hit the ground running as the two batsmen completely dominated Australia, sharing 72 runs for the second wicket off just 42 balls.

But after Rizwan's dismissal, Asif Ali (0), the Pakistani six-hitting machine, failed to click on Thursday.

And the veteran Shoaib Malik (1) was bowled by Starc while trying to go for a big shot.

But Fakhar was magnificent until the end, hitting two stunning sixes over mid-wicket off Starc in the final over to help Pakistan post a challenging total.


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