Pakistan flatten New Zealand to enter T20 World Cup final
Babar, Rizwan share 105-run opening partnership: Riswan top-scores with 57 runs: Babar hit 53
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Muhammad Rizwan and Babar Azam slammed half-centuries as Pakistan powered past New Zealand by seven wickets and into the Twenty20 World Cup final Wednesday, moving within one win of a second title.
They will meet either England or India -– who play on Thursday in Adelaide -- in the November 13 decider at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Pakistan set the tone at the Sydney Cricket Ground with some razor sharp fielding and disciplined bowling that restricted New Zealand to just 152-4.
In front of 36,443 strongly pro-Pakistan spectators, Rizwan (57) and Azam (53) took apart the Black Caps' renowned bowling attack in a 105-run opening stand.
Despite a slightly nervy finish after both fell, Mohammad Haris's 30 off 26 balls helped complete a deserved victory with five balls to spare.
"Obviously, me and Babar decided to go after the new ball and the pitch was difficult," said Rizwan, who was named player of the match.
"When we finished the powerplay, the discussion was one of the guys to go deep. The guys have worked hard and we have always believed."
Pakistan last claimed the title in 2009 at Lord's in England when they beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets, and it has been a rollercoaster ride in Australia to make another final.
After agonising last-ball losses to India and Zimbabwe in the group phase, they bounced back to topple the Netherlands and South Africa.
Then against the odds they went through when the Proteas were stunned by the Dutch and Pakistan eased past Bangladesh.
Rizwan and Babar coming to the party at the right time for their team.— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) November 9, 2022
New Zealand, who topped Group 1, were aiming to make the final for the second consecutive time, but their hunt for a maiden T20 title again fell short.
Teams batting first had won five from six games played in Sydney this tournament and when Kane Williamson won the toss he had no hesitation in asking Pakistan to bowl, but it proved to be tough going.
- 'Tough pill to swallow' -
In an eventful opening over, Finn Allen hit Shaheen Afridi for four off the first delivery then was given out the next ball lbw.
It was overturned on review because of an inside edge only for Afridi to promptly do the same again and this time it was plumb.
Conway was run out for 21 by Shadab Khan, who scored a direct hit from mid-off and they suffered a big blow when Glenn Phillips was caught and bowled by Mohammad Nawaz for six.
Daryl Mitchell and Williamson began taking more risks after reaching the 10-over mark at 59-3 with the first six coming in the 13th over.
Williamson was undone on 46 by an Afridi yorker after a knock that yielded only two boundaries before Mitchell, unbeaten on 53, and Jimmy Neesham, who scored 16, added 29 runs in the final three overs.
"At the halfway mark we thought we had a competitive total but it was disappointing not to make Pakistan work harder," said Williamson who saw his side shell a series of catchable chances in a sloppy fielding display.
"It's a tough pill to swallow," he said. "I think if we want to be honest, we wanted to be more disciplined with our areas. Like I said, Pakistan deserved to win."
Pakistan skipper Azam, who was desperate for runs after making just 39 in five matches before the semi-final, was dropped first ball by wicketkeeper Conway off Trent Boult in the reply.
But after his nervy start he hammered a four off Boult and partner Rizwan also helped himself to two boundaries in a costly 15-run over for New Zealand.
They plundered more boundaries off Tim Southee in another 15-run over, racing to 55-0 from the powerplay and bringing up their century stand in the 12th over.
Azam brought up his half-century before New Zealand got a glimmer of hope when he was caught in the deep off Boult and the same bowler then removed Rizwan.
"Thanks to the crowd," said Azam. "Feels like we are playing at home."
Pakistan: 1 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 2 Babar Azam (capt), 3 Mohammad Haris, 4 Shan Masood, 5 Iftikhar Ahmed, 6 Shadab Khan, 7 Mohammad Nawaz, 8 Mohammad Wasim Jr, 9 Naseem Shah, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Shaheen Afridi
New Zealand: 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway (wk), 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Glenn Phillips, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Jimmy Neesham, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Ish Sodhi, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult
Cricket: New Zealand v Pakistan scoreboard
Scoreboard after Pakistan beat New Zealand in the first Twenty20 World Cup semi-final at Sydney on Wednesday:
F. Allen lbw Afridi 4
D. Conway run out 21
K. Williamson b Afridi 46
G. Phillips c and b Nawaz 6
D. Mitchell not out 53
J. Neesham not out 16
Extras (b2, lb4) 6
Total (4 wickets, 20 overs) 152
Did not bat: Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Allen), 2-38 (Conway), 3-49 (Phillips), 4-117 (Williamson)
Bowling: Afridi 4-0-24-2, Shah 4-0-30-0, Rauf 4-0-32-0, Wasim 2-0-15-0, Khan 4-0-33-0, Nawaz 2-0-12-1
M. Rizwan c Phillips b Boult 57
B. Azam c Mitchell b Boult 53
M. Haris c Allen b Santner 30
S. Masood not out 3
I. Ahmed not out 0
Extras (b4, lb3, w3) 10
(Total (3 wickets, 19.1 overs) 153
Did not bat: Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
Fall of wickets: 1-105 (Azam), 2-132 (Rizwan), 3-151 (Haris)
Bowling: Boult 4-0-33-2, Southee 3.1-0-24-0, Ferguson 4-0-37-0, Santner 4-0-26-1, Sodhi 4-0-26-0
Toss: New Zealand
Result: Pakistan won by seven wickets
Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA), Richard Illingworth (ENG)
TV Umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Match Referee: Chris Broad (ENG)
New Zealand, the silent movers, and Pakistan, the most unpredictable side, clash in the opening semi-final after making their way to the knockout rounds by starkly contrasting paths.
The Black Caps hammered hosts and champions Australia in their tournament opener, had a match washed out and lost a high-quality contest to England before reaching a fifth successive white-ball World Cup semi-final as group winners.
Pakistan's journey started with a remarkable loss to India in front of 92,000 fans at Melbourne which was followed by an equally dramatic upset at the hands of Zimbabwe and a rain-disrupted win over South Africa. They scraped into the last four by beating Bangladesh but only after a stunning upset of South Africa by the Dutch in the final round of group matches had removed all the bottlenecks in their path.
After losing their first two matches, Pakistan were all but out of the tournament 🎢— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 8, 2022
They will now meet New Zealand in the #T20WorldCup semi-final 🤜🤛 https://t.co/oROSCMr79j #NZvPAK pic.twitter.com/S4daG6Z1R6
Welcome to Pakistan cricket
"Shadab (Khan) actually said something very significant in the dugout the other day, he said: 'Welcome to Pakistan cricket'," team mentor Matthew Hayden said on Tuesday. "Meaning that on any given day, anything can happen. When Netherlands beat South Africa, it was a significant moment for us in the tournament and as a result of that, I feel that there was very much an uplifting of tempo in our group."
If Pakistan will be looking to ride the momentum of their great escape from the group, New Zealand will be relying on a tried and tested philosophy as they seek to reach the final against India or England.
"We're just focusing on one game at a time as we have done throughout this tournament," said captain Kane Williamson. "And now we're in a semi-final, which is a nice place to be, but it's about cricket and the type of cricket we want to commit to and keep playing and that will be our focus."
Blue sky forecast
Blue skies are forecast for the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday for what could be an intriguing contrast between two well-balanced teams boasting some fine pace bowling.
For some, the match has echoes of the 1992 50-overs World Cup in Australia, where Pakistan scraped into the last four before beating tournament favourites New Zealand in the semis and England in the final.
Williamson was reluctant to ascribe to one of Pakistan's finest hours in white ball cricket -- they also won the T20 World Cup in 2009 -- as being any sort of precedent.
"I was two," he deadpanned. "There's also a rich cricketing history in New Zealand. A number of great moments."
Spirit of 1992
There are parallels. They may not mean anything, but they're there, if you're the kind of cricket fan who looks for them. And if you're a Pakistan fan, you're always looking for parallels to 1992.
Well, here are a couple. New Zealand began their tournament with a big win over Australia. New Zealand topped their group table (yes, there were no groups in 1992, but let's not nitpick), losing only once before the knockouts. New Zealand's No. 4 was, and is, the tournament's leading batter (according to no less an authority than Smart Stats.)
And then we come to Pakistan. A Pakistan who were all but out of the tournament, only for forces beyond human comprehension, to carry them into the semi-finals. They come there fuelled by pace, left-arm swing, and wristspin, among other things (things that don't quite match the just-like-92 theme), tigers who are cornered no more.