Matthew Wade’s mind-defying innings deflated Pakistan and powered Australia into the final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, in Dubai on Thursday.
Australia will clash with New Zealand for the World Cup spoils on Sunday.
Wade smashed an unbelievable 41 off 17 balls comprising two boundaries and four sixes, three of which came as consecutive sixes in the 19th over bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi, that spurred Australia to victory out of nowhere.
Australia were off to a disastrous start after a stunning Shaheen Shah Afridi delivery got skipper Aaron Finch plumb in front off the third ball of the first over.
David Warner came to the party when he smashed Imad Wasim for a six and two consecutive boundaries in the fourth over as the Aussies got going.
Australia had got themselves a launchpad as they finished the powerplay overs at 52/1 with Mitchell Marsh and David Warner going strong.
However, Pakistan bounced right back into the game when Shadab Khan had Marsh caught at deep square leg by Asif Ali as Australia slumped to 52/2.
Shadab got the back of Steve Smith as well in the ninth over as Pakistan kept themselves in the game although Australia were scoring at a quick pace.
At 89/3 after the completion of 10 overs, Australia were definitely in with a chance but had to keep an eye on the wickets as well.
Pakistan claimed the huge wicket of Warner off the first ball of the 11th over as Shadab got him caught behind by Rizwan. After picking up the wickets of Smith and Glenn Maxwell, Shadab Khan had decisively swung the match in Pakistan’s favour.
PAKISTAN BAT BIG
Pakistan were off to a rollicking start as their openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan took the Australian bowlers apart in the powerplay.
They reached a healthy 38/0 after five overs with Babar on 21 with four boundaries and Rizwan on 15 with a four and a flat six off Josh Hazlewood.
Rizwan had a let off in the sixth over when Adam Zampa dropped a screamer at fine leg as Pakistan chugged along nicely.
The Pakistan wicket-keeper batsman made the most of the opportunity as he sent Mitchell Marsh away for a boundary in the eighth over.
Australia were looking to Zampa to stem the flow of runs after he had a good first over. Considering the nature of the wicket that had plenty of runs and would get easier for batting as the night wore on, Pakistan had to really get a big one to challenge the Australians.
At the stroke of the 10-over mark, Pakistan lost their big fish, Babar, to a slog sweep off Zampa taken by David Warner at long on.
It was time for the Pakistanis to assess how much they were targeting and for the Aussies to keep chipping away and chase as low a total as possible.
Although Rizwan was holding fort for Pakistan and kept the scoreboard ticking, Pakistan were struggling to up the ante significantly as the boundaries dried up by the 13th over.
Fakhar Zaman was having a tough time getting his strike rate up and the Australian bowlers had the Pakistan batsman in knots.
Rizwan, on the other hand, slammed a massive six off Hazlewood and then took a single as he brought up a well-deserved fifty in the 14th over.
Zampa had a great spell finishing his four overs with 1/22.
Rizwan played a superb innings of 67 off 52 balls before getting out to Mitchell Starc through a catch by Steve Smith at mid-off.
Asif Ali looked for an encore of his innings against Afghanistan but was out off the first ball from Starc caught at long off by Smith.
Zaman’s late onslaught, especially the two consecutive sixes in the last over brought up his half-century, powered Pakistan to a very competitive 176/4 in 20 overs.