Athletic

Australia pull off late comeback to kill Pakistan’s World Cup dream

Matthew Wade hit three sixes off the last three balls of the 19th over bowled by the otherwise excellent Shaheen Shah Afridi to carry Australia to the final of the ICC T20 World Cup for the first time since 2010, beating Pakistan by five wickets in a nailbiting second semifinal Thursday in Dubai.

Australia will now take on New Zealand in the final on November 14 at the same venue. Neither team has won the World Cup in cricket's shortest version before, and although they faced each other in the final of the 2015 ODI World Cup, this will be the first World Cup final between the two neighbours parted by the Tasman Sea - a Transtasman final.

Right before the final blow, Wade got a life due to Hassan Ali’s sloppy fielding at the deep. Australia needed 18 runs of nine balls when Wade decided to take it to Afridi.

Australia needed 22 in the last 12 overs. Riding on Wade’s mighty hitting, they scored these runs with six balls to play. And thus, Australia ended the superb run of Pakistan in this World Cup.

Afridi had been bowling like a dream throughout the tournament, and he got the early breakthrough with the new ball on this night too. But coming into the second last over of the second semifinal, he delivered his worst over of the event.

Australia won the toss in this match and sent Pakistan bat first. Who posted 176 for four in 20 overs.

In reply, Australia lost the first wicket in the first over of the innings when Afridi removed Australian captain Aaron Finch for a golden duck. But the Aussies managed to control the early damage carefully.

In the second wicket stand, David Warner and Mitchell Marsh added 51 runs off 36 balls which has set the foundation for them.

Marsh ended up on 28, but Warner was there and kept the scorecard afloat. Before he gifted his wicket to Shadab Khan assuming a touch on his bat that was a catch to the wicketkeeper, Warner scored 49. The tv replays showed the ball did not touch his bat. It was an unfortunate loss for Australia.

Before Warner’s dismissal, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell were removed for 5 and 7 respectively.

In the sixth wicket, Wade and Marcus Stoinis added 81 off 41 and remained unbeaten. Wade added 41 off 17 balls with two fours and four sixes while Stoinis scored 40 off 30 balls. Australia ended up on 177 for five in 19 overs.

For Pakistan, Shadab bagged four wickets conceding 26 runs— which is the best-ever bowling record in the semifinals of the T20 World Cups.

Earlier, fifties from Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman helped Pakistan post a challenging total of 176 for four in 20 overs.

In the first wicket stand, Pakistan posted 71 in 10 overs. Babar, who hit four fifties in the last five matches, scored 39 this time off 34 balls with five fours.

It was Adam Zampa who stunned Babar with a delivery tossed up at the stumps and Babar went for a slog-sweep and caught at the long-on area.

Before Babar’s dismissal, Pakistan posted 47 runs without losing any wicket. In the World Cup, Pakistan lost a wicket in the powerplay only on two occasions.

Mohammad Rizwan continued on a good run as he came up with a fifty in this match. He completed his fifty off 41 balls. It was Rizwan’s third fifty in this World Cup. Along the way, Rizwan became the first batter in history to complete 1000 T20I runs in a calendar year.

Rizwan was removed by Mitchel Starc at 67 off 52 with three fours and four sixes. He tried to clear through mid-off but failed to connect the ball well as Steve Smith took a regulation catch.

In the next over after Rizwan’s dismissal, Asif Ali suffered a golden duck. It was a slower delivery by Pat Cummins. The delivery was quite at the slot. Asif went for a big shot but failed to catch the slower one, and lofted an easy catch to Smith.

Pakistan were able to score only three runs off the 19th over bowled by Cummins. It was a wonderful over by the pacer.

Fakahar Zaman hit two sixes off the fourth and fifth ball of the last over, and thus, Pakistan’s total passed 175— they ended up at 176 for four in 20 overs.

With two sixes in the last over, Fakhar completed a fifty and remained unbeaten for 55 off 32 balls with three fours and four sixes.

For Australia, Mitchell Starc bagged two wickets while Cummins and Zampa scalped one wicket each.

Whoever wins the final on November 14, the T20 World Cup will have the new Champions. Australia have previously played the final in 2010 but lost to England while it will the first T20 World Cup final by New Zealand.

Source: United News of Bangladesh