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Pakistan storm into final outplaying New Zealand

Published : 09 Nov 2022 10:13 PM | Updated : 10 Nov 2022 02:20 PM

Captain Babar Azam got back to his form while pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi was at his best in the semifinal, with Pakistan grabbing an easy seven-wicket win over New Zealand to move into the final of the ICC Men’s T-20 Cricket World Cup.

If India win the second semi-final against England today, the most coveted and dream final match will take place between Asian giants Pakistan and India on November 13.  

New Zealand, after winning the toss elected to bat first and were all out just setting Pakistan to chase 153 runs winning target at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Australia.    

Afridi, who played a big role in the match, his four overs spell featured with two wickets for 24 runs that steered Pakistan to restrict New Zealand to 152 runs for 4 wickets.

Shaheen Shah Afridi, had a slow start in the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia, but has been improving throughout and showed great confidence with the ball, as he was at his best in the semifinal with taking the key wickets of Finn Allen and Kane Williamson to make it easy for Pakistan to halt New Zealand on 152.

Afridi now made his tally of wickets in this T20 World Cup to ten to join with Shadab Khan to be highest wicket taker. Afridi, while taking nine of those wickets in his last three games when he was wicketless against India and Zimbabwe, and took only one wicket against the Netherlands.

However, chasing a moderate target Pakistan made a flying start with a captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rezwan-powered 105 runs in the opening pair.

Babar Azam before being caught by Daryl Mitchell off Trent Boult scored 53 from 42 balls with seven fours.

New Zealand, who took the bat and saw an early debacle losing Finn Allen wicket for Lbw when Shaeen Shah Afridi struck on his third ball of first over when he (Afridi) pitched the ball on leg that hit middle and leg and Allen smacked on the front pad swinging across the line. Despite Allen's review, the decision was not changed.

After losing the vital wicket at very early stage New Zealand, headed to more trouble, losing three wickets for 49 runs in eight overs when Devon Conway and Glenn Philip got out in quick succession.

But Kane Williumson and Daryl Mitchell looked to carry on the Black Caps innings to a challenging total when they scored 68 runs in 8.2 overs. Williamson scored 46 off 42 balls before being bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Daryl Mitchel remained not out making 53 off 35 balls, when his innings featured three boundaries and a six, as New Zealand could make a respectable total.

Chasing a modest target, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rezwan appeared with attacking approach and at a stage it looked they would carry through the bat but the openers departed on 105 runs.

Babar was the first one to get out and his opening partner also left the crease adding 27 runs with Mohammad Haris in third wicket partnership. Pakistan did not see any further debacle but to lose the Haris wicket when Shan Mahmud and Iftekher Mahmud reached the winning target with five balls to spare.   

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