Key Moments: How Pakistan stormed into T20 World Cup final
NEW DELHI: Pakistan pulled off a clinical seven-wicket win over New Zealand to enter the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. With the win, Pakistan qualified for the final of the cricketing extravaganza after a gap of 13 years.
In the high-pressure first semi-final at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground in front of a sell-out crowd, most of them supporting Pakistan, Babar Azam and co. produced a dominating show, outclassing the Kiwis in all the three departments.
Chasing a competitive 153 for victory, Pakistan crossed the finish line with 5 balls to spare.
Here’s a look at the key turning points of the Pakistan-New Zealand first semi-final match in Sydney:
1) Fall of openers in Powerplay – New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won an important toss and opted to bat first in the high-pressure knockout game. But the Pakistani pacers were up for the challenge right from the word go. The Kiwis first lost explosive opener Finn Allen in the very first over with pace ace Shaheen Afridi trapping him right in front for 4. Williamson and Devon Conway then did manage to steady New Zealand but the latter got run out on the final ball of the Powerplay, trying to sneak in a quick single and Shadab Khan scoring a direct hit from mid-on. The two wickets in the Powerplay put pressure early on the Kiwis.
2) Phillips flop show and Williamson-Mitchell stand – Glenn Phillips, who had scored a century and a fifty earlier in the tournament and was the in-form batter for the Kiwis, failed to fire in the semis as he was dismissed by Mohammad Nawaz in the 8th over for a mere 6 runs. With three wickets down for just 49, the Kiwis found themselves on the backfoot and needed the stand to get them through the middle overs and steady the innings. Skipper Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell did manage a 68-run fourth wicket partnership but the Pakistani bowlers never allowed them to score freely. In the 17th over when Williamson got out for 46, New Zealand only had 117 runs on the board.
3) An all-round top class bowling effort – Babar Azam used 6 bowlers in the semis against New Zealand and each one of them did their job to perfection. Most of the bowlers had an economy rate under 7.5 and they all maintained pressure on the Kiwi batters throughout the innings. Although Shaheen and Nawaz were the only wicket-takers, every bowler bowled according to a set plan and choked the batters for runs. With the help of a Daryl Mitchell fifty, New Zealand managed to get past the 150-run mark.
4) The Babar-Rizwan century stand – Struggling for runs throughout the group stage, both Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan fired on all cylinders, taking the game away from New Zealand with their century stand. First Rizwan took off, going after the Kiwi pacers inside the Powerplay and then his skipper Babar joined him on the assault as the duo added 55 runs in the first 6 overs, making their intent in the chase pretty clear. While New Zealand continued to leak boundaries, Babar and Rizwan flourished together bringing up the century stand in the 12th over. While Babar got out in the 13th over after scoring a fifty, Rizwan continued a bit longer, denying New Zealand any chance of making a comeback. By the time Rizwan got out for 57 at the end of the 17th over, Pakistan were knocking at the door of the finals.
5) Fielding blips cost New Zealand – Babar Azam got a life-line on the very first ball he faced in the first over of the 153 chase. He was dropped by keeper Devon Conway behind the stumps. Along with that, there were 2 more dropped catches and a couple of missed run out chances as New Zealand, one of the best fielding teams in the competition, had a poor day on the field. The missed chances allowed Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan to flourish and gave them confidence as they progressed in the chase. The Kiwis did post a par total in the big semi-final game but had they fielded better, things might have gotten tough for a fragile Pakistan batting order. Mohammad Haris too played a useful 26-ball 30 knock while Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed took Pakistan to the final with 5 balls to spare.