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Pakistan confirm semifinals spot, Bangladesh’s campaign over!

Wednesday 3 November 2021 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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Pakistan confirm semifinals spot, Bangladesh’s campaign over!
South Africa's Anrich Nortje, left, celebrates with teammates after dismissing Bangladesh's captain Mohammad Mahmudullah during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup match between South Africa and Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

South Africa routed Bangladesh to remain second on the points table in Group 1 whereas Pakistan continued their dominance in Group 2 with an easy win over Namibia on day 11 of the T20 World Cup.

Game 18

South Africa 86 for 4 (Bavuma 31*, Taskin 2/18) beat Bangladesh 84 (Mahedi 27, Nortje 3/8, Rabada 3/20) by six wickets.

T20 cricket is considered to be a batter’s game. This is because normally the wickets are flat, the boundaries are short, the modern day bats are designed to hit the ball further and rules like the batting power play, free hits, only one bouncer per over etc. are also heavily skewed in favour of the batters. This World Cup though has been exception to the rule because the pitches are slow and low and do not encourage big scores. Chasing a score has been easier than setting a target due to the dew factor and the fact that the ball comes on to the bat a bit better under the lights.

South Africa won the toss on an Abu Dhabi pitch which had a bit of grass left on it and didn’t hesitate to ask Bangladesh to bat first. They found immediate success with man of the match Kagiso Rabada (3/20) picking up 3 wickets in the power play. Once Rabada finished his spell he was replaced by his IPL team (Delhi Capitals) team mate Anrich Nortje who added to Bangladesh’s woes by picking up 3 wickets himself. All the Bangladesh batters struggled to come to terms with the pace, bounce, swing and movement of the fast bowlers and the guile and accuracy of the spinners. Bangladesh couldn’t even manage to play their entire 20 overs and were all out for a paltry 84 in the 19th over.

The target was never going to be enough to challenge the strong South African batting line up and they got home in the 14th over for the loss of 4 wickets. Captain Temba Bavuma top scored with 33 not out. For Bangladesh fast bowler Taskin Ahmed bowled with a lot of heart and created a bit of excitement in the game by picking up 2 quick wickets but his efforts were not enough to save the day for Bangladesh. With three wins from four games and a healthy net run rate South Africa are currently second on the table behind England and have a foot in the door to qualify for the semis. With four losses from four matches, Bangladesh have no chance of qualifying but can ruin Australia’s chances by defeating them in their last game.

Game 19

Pakistan 189 for 2 (Rizwan 79*, Babar 70) beat Namibia 144 for 5 (Wiese 43*, Williams 40, Imad 1/13, Hasan 1/22) by 45 runs.

From the start of the tournament Pakistan have looked like a team on a mission and they continued their good form against a Namibian side which is still trying to find its feet in the big boy’s league. Such is Pakistan’s confidence at the moment that when they won the toss, they decided to test themselves by batting first and setting a target for the first time in this tournament. They passed that test with flying colours as both their openers Mohammed Rizwan and captain Babar Azam put on 113 runs for the first wicket in 14 overs. The carnage continued after Babar’s dismissal as Rizwan and the experienced Mohammed Hafeez continued to plunder runs from the Namibian bowlers. Man of the match Rizwan remained not out on 79 of just 50 deliveries and Pakistan piled on a massive 189 for the loss of just 2 wickets in their 20 overs.

Chasing 189 against an in form Pakistan bowling attack was always going to be a challenge for Namibia. Although they managed to stitch together useful partnerships throughout their innings the runs didn’t come at the required rate. This meant that there was too much to do at the end for the experienced David Wiese and although he struck some powerful blows in his 43 not out it was too little too late. Imad Wasim and Hasan Ali were the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan being economical and picking up a wicket each.

Namibia still have a couple of games left to play in the tournament but considering their opponents in the remaining games, their progress in the tournament looks unlikely. With four wins on the trot Pakistan have confirmed their place in the semifinals and look set to finish at the top of Group 2. The only question now is; have they peaked too soon or can they perform at the same level in the knockout games as well?