World T20: Six-hitting Wade, composed Stoinis stun Pakistan to book final spot

SUMMARY: Pakistan 176-4 from 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 67 off 52; Fakhar Zaman 55* off 32, Babar Azam 39 off 34; Mitchell Starc 2-38) vs Australia 177-5 from 19 overs (David Warner 49 off 30, Matthew Wade 41* off 17, Marcus Stoinis 40* off 31, Mitchell Marsh 28 off 22; Shadab Khan 4-26)

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Australia came back from the brink to beat Pakistan by five wickets in another gripping Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final.

Needing 20 off the final 10 balls, Matthew Wade was dropped by Hassan Ali before hitting the next three deliveries for six to complete a stunning pursuit of 177 in Dubai.

Australia had been struggling at 96-5, despite a belligerent 49 from David Warner, before Wade and Marcus Stoinis’ grandstand finish.

Wade smashed an unbeaten 41 off only 17 balls, while Stoinis finished 40 not out off 21, their remarkable stand of 81 in 6.4 overs carrying Australia home with an over to spare and silencing a largely Pakistan-supporting crowd.

It was a second thrilling finale in 24 hours after New Zealand’s dramatic victory over England in Wednesday’s semi-final.

Australia and New Zealand, neither of whom have won the T20 World Cup, will meet in the final in Dubai on Sunday at 10:00h.

Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam and Shadab Khan of Pakistan react following during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final match between Pakistan and Australia at Dubai International Stadium on November 11, 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

From ‘written off’ to World Cup finalists

Very few would have expected Australia – who came into this tournament having lost their past five T20 series and were bowled out for just 62 by Bangladesh in August – to reach the final.

They lost captain Aaron Finch for a duck in the first over, saw key players Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith fall to Shadab, and luck seemed to be against them when Warner was given out despite replays suggesting he had not edged the ball through to keeper Rizwan.

Stoinis and Wade were excellent. Stoinis overcame his struggles against spin to see off Shadab and Imad Wasim, and he and Wade were content to take risky singles to keep the run-rate ticking over.

They were helped, too, by a below-par Pakistan. Hassan endured a dreadful day with the ball, finishing with figures of 0-44. He bowled the 18th over, which Stoinis swung for 15 runs to put Australia on top.

His drop of Wade also proved crucial. Wade slogged the ball into the air and it should have been an easy catch for Hassan at deep mid-wicket. Instead, he overran and let the ball slip through his fingers.

He could only then watch as Wade swung three sixes away, the final one an audacious ramp that sailed into a silent crowd in Dubai.

It was a stunning victory for a side that, as Finch said, had been written off in the build-up to the tournament.

Cricket fans watch the live telecast of ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup semi-final match between Australia and Pakistan in Karachi on November 11, 2021. – Australia beat Pakistan by five wickets in the second Twenty20 World Cup semi-final on November 11, 2021, and set up a title clash with New Zealand. (Photo by Asif HASSAN/AFP)

‘Warrior’ Rizwan’s innings in vain

Rizwan produced a brutal innings against Australia, made all the more remarkable by the fact that the night before he was in hospital, being treated for a “lung condition”.

Batting coach Matthew Hayden described him as a “warrior” after an innings which thrilled the crowd.

He began scratchily, allowing Babar to take much of the strike, and was given two lives after being dropped on nought by Warner and again by Adam Zampa on 20.

It was a blow to the helmet grille that seemed to ignite Rizwan’s innings. After receiving treatment from the physio and with a visible mark on his face, Rizwan swung his first six of the innings before moving to his third half-century of the tournament.

He was able to take advantage as Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins lost their lines, the highlight being a whip over long-on off Hazlewood that sailed for six, and his running with Fakhar put further pressure on Australia.

He fell trying to accelerate the rate further, ballooning a wide Starc delivery straight to Steve Smith, leaving it to Fakhar to end the innings strongly.

Rizwan has been one of the standout batters of the tournament and it felt as though he had propelled Pakistan to a winning total – until Wade intervened. (BBC Sport)

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