SYDNEY- A rejuvenated Pakistan lifted their game when it mattered the most and stormed into the T20 World Cup final with a convincing seven-wicket win over New Zealand here on Wednesday.
Batting first, New Zealand managed 152 for 4, riding on Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten 34-ball 53 and skipper Kane Williamson’s 46 off 42 balls.
Pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi snapped two wickets, while Mohammad Nawaz took one.
Pakistan achieved the target with five balls to spare with Babar Azam (53 off 42) and Mohammad Rizwan (57) sharing a 105-run stand for the opening wicket.
Trent Boult (2/33) managed to grab two wickets, while Mitchell Santner (1/26) too accounted for one batter.
This will be Pakistan’s third appearance in the T20 World Cup final. They had finished runners-up to India in the inaugural edition in 2007 before claiming the title two years later. The win over New Zealand, last edition’s runners-up side, also kept the prospect of a mouth-watering India-Pakistan final in Melbourne on Sunday alive, provided Rohit Sharma’s men beat England in the second semifinal in Adelaide on Thursday.
New Zealand: 152 for 4 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 46, Daryl Mitchell 53 not out; Shaheen Afridi 2/24).
Pakistan: 153 for 3 in 19.1 overs (Babar Azam 53, Mohammad Rizwan 57; Trent Boult 2/33).
I Would Like To Play India In Final: Pakistan Mentor Hayden
Pakistan team mentor Matthew Hayden wants to play the World Cup final against India purely for the sake of ”big spectacle”.
An India-Pakistan clash generates much interest, mostly to the level of obsession, which was evident in the Group stage when Virat Kohli earned plaudits for orchestrating his team’s much talked-about victory under pressure.
Pakistan stormed into the final with a comfortable seven-wicket win over New Zealand and now await the winner of the second semifinal between India and England.
”I would like to play India in the final purely because of the big spectacle,” he said when asked which opponent he will choose for the final.
Pakistan were on the verge of an early exit after defeats against India and Zimbabwe but luck smiled on them when Netherlands knocked South Africa out of the tournament to open up an opportunity for Paksitan. Babar Azam’s side then beat Bangladesh to qualify for the semifinal.
The former Australian opener sounded a warning to their next rivals, saying his bowling attack is yet to produce its best.
”Tonight was very special. That fast bowling attack you saw did an unbelievable job. I don’t think we have seen our best yet, which is probably the scarier part for whoever faces us (in the final),” Hayden said.
He also felt that playing at the MCG would suit his batters. ”Could be a truer surface and nicer batting track in Melbourne. Sky is the limit. You can never beat down class. Both these guys (Babar, Rizwan) have done it for a number of years. (Mohammad) Haris has smashed every bowler in the nets.
”The bowlers had to adapt to this pitch and bowl slower balls and they did so well. Haris Rauf is bowling consistent 150s. ”If Pakistan on their day turn up, they are unstoppable. Shadab is a great fighter. To win any tournament you got to fight.”
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