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Australia eye maiden T20 WC title

Friday 12 November 2021 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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Australia eye maiden T20 WC title
Matthew Wade celebrates with Marcus Stoinis. Picture: Francois Nel/Getty Images/ 21111107

The second semifinal saw Australia ending Pakistan’s unbeaten run in the tournament with a nail-biting finish in Dubai. Australia will now lock horns with trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in the final on Sunday.

Semifinal 2

Australia (Warner 49, Wade 41*, Stoinis 40*, Shadab 4/26) beat Pakistan 176 for 4 (Rizwan 67, Zaman 55*, Zampa 1/22) by 5 wickets.

History tells us that if you give an Australian cricket team half a chance, they normally grab it with both hands and find a way to make a comeback from the most impossible of situations. Yesterday was no different.

Australia won the toss and had no hesitation in fielding first. Pakistan had a great start to their innings. Forty-seven (47) on the board without losing any wickets in the first 6 overs in a big semifinal set the stage for a big score. But the Aussies tightened the screws after the power play and the run rate kept dropping.

Although both openers Mohammed Rizwan (67 from 52 balls) and Babar Azam (39 of 34 balls) provided a good start their strike rates were below par on a good Dubai wicket. It was only due to an aggressive innings by number three Fakhar Zaman (55 not out from 32 balls) that Pakistan managed a par score of 177 for 4 of their 20 overs. The big hitting Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez only got to play four balls between them and this was mainly due to the openers batting for 86 balls in third gear.

For Australia all the fast bowlers were expensive but the ever reliable Adam Zampa bowled economically picking up 1 for 22 of his 4 overs and part time off spinner Glenn Maxwell bowled 3 overs for only 20 runs.

Shaheen Shah Afridi’s opening overs with the new ball are a treat for lovers of fast bowling. He charges in to the crease, has a great wrist action, releases the seam bolt upright, gets late swing, moves the ball of the wicket and all this while bowling well over 145 kmph. Yesterday he trapped Aaron Finch plumb in front with a beauty in his first over. But David Warner (49 of 30 balls) and Mitchell Marsh (28 of 22 balls) counter attacked in typical Aussie fashion to put on 51 runs in just 36 balls.

Since returning to form earlier in the tournament Warner has been unstoppable. In his trademark style he muscled the bowling to all parts of the ground before he was dismissed in confusing circumstances. Shadab Khan appealed for a caught behind which was upheld by the umpire. Even though Australia had unused reviews Warner decided to walk away as he believed that he had hit it. There was a sound as the ball passed the bat but to everyone’s surprise there was no spike on the snickometer and Pakistan got a lucky break.

Warner and then Maxwell’s departure meant Australia were in the middle of a mini collapse i.e. 52/1 had become 96/5. Leg spinner Shadab Khan was the architect of the havoc picking up 4 wickets for 26 runs of his 4 overs. With 2 new batters at the crease and an asking rate of over 10.5 runs an over it looked like the writing was on the wall for Australia. But like the famous saying goes ‘Cometh the hour cometh man’; in Marcus Stoinis (41 of 30 balls) and man of the match Matthew Wade (41 of 17 balls) Australia found not one but two superheroes to rescue them and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a cool, calm and collected manner. They put on an unbeaten 81 runs in only 41 balls and took Australia home with an over to spare. Luck that favoured Pakistan in dismissing Warner deserted them when Wade offered a regulation chance in the outfield to Hasan Ali. The ball slipped out of Hasan Ali’s hands and the World Cup slipped out of Pakistan’s. After getting a life Wade rubbed salt on Pakistan’s wounds by hitting 3 sixes of the next 3 balls to book Australia’s place in the finals.