12/07/2022
Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam seemed to have kept their best for the last as the duo helped Pakistan register an emphatic 7-wicket win over New Zealand in the first semi-final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 here on Wednesday (November 9) at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

With this win, Pakistan entered in a World Cup final for the first time in 13 years. They made it to the T20 World Cup final in 2009, which they ended up winning.

Chasing a below-par 153-run target in the stipulated 20 overs, Babar and Rizwan shared a record 105-run stand for the first wicket and gave their team a sensational start. Rizwan scored 57 while Babar posted 53 and put their side in the driver’s seat against a toothless-looking New Zealand bowling attack.

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While Babar and Rizwan were dismissed after scoring half-centuries and Mohammad Haris (30) was the third wicket to fall in the innings in the run chase. The Men In Green overhauled the target in 19.1 overs as New Zealand bowlers looked clueless in the match.

Babar and Rizwan – who shared their record eighth T20I century stand – also became the first pair to have shared three century-plus stands in the T20 World Cups.

Earlier in the day, Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten 53 from 35 deliveries helped New Zealand recover from early jolts and reach 152/4. Some quality bowling from Pakistan in the powerplay, as well as in the death overs, prevented the BlackCaps from posting a big total.

New Zealand had lost three key wickets for just 49 runs when Mitchell joined skipper Kane Williamson at the crease. Mitchell went on the charge straightaway whereas Williamson played second fiddle, as the duo put on a stand of 68 runs for the fourth wicket.

Williamson departed for 46 from 42 deliveries just when their innings entered the death over but Mitchell carried on and made his way to a superb knock of 53* from just 35 deliveries to help New Zealand cross 150.

For Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-0-24-2 to his name. But the entire Pakistan bowling unit produced a disciplined effort on a used surface to restrict the Kiwis to a chaseable target.

Pakistan will now wait for the winners of the second semi-final between England and India which will be played at Adelaide Oval on Thursday (November 10) for the summit clash on Sunday (November 13) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).