T20 World Cup 2022: Pakistan began their T20 World Cup campaign with two losses on the trot. All odds were against Babar Azams team as their hopes of making it to the semifinals quickly slipped away.

But Pakistan denied all odds as they made a stellar entry into the semifinals with a five-wicket win over Bangladesh on Sunday (Nov. 6). Pakistan’s hopes were boosted after South Africa, favourites to qualify for the semis, were stunned by Netherlands. With fate handing them a lifeline, Babar Azam’s men extended their stay in Australia as they defeated Bangladesh in their final match Super 12 match.

T20 World Cup 2022: Pakistan swoop on South Africa shock to book semi-finals spot

Player-of-the-match Shaheen Shah Afridi, who had been struggling to return to form at the onset of the tournament, bowled a clinical spell as Pakistan handed Shakib-al-Hasan-led Bangladesh a five-wicket win.

Following their win and qualification to the semis, an elated Pakistan skipper called cricket a ‘funny game’ as they soaked in the win at the Adelaide Oval. “It’s a team game. Cricket is a funny game. Appreciate my team and the way they played all the matches. Pitch wasn’t easy to bat on. Little bit two-paced,” said Azam.

A big concern for Pakistan has been the failure of their openers to hand them a strong start. Though the pair did get going, they failed to capitalise once again. The duo laboured to 57 off 63 for the opening stand, but Mohammad Haris (31 off 18) and Shan Masood (24 off 14), saw Pakistan chase down the target and clinch their third win in the Super 12 stage.

Talking about their failure to fire at the top, the Pakistan skipper said, “Me and Rizwan decided to go long, but unfortunately didn’t work out. Haris showed aggression, good to see him play. Looking forward to the semifinals. All of us are excited to play.”

Currently Pakistan is at the top of Group 2 with six points from five games, while India, who have already qualified for the semis, are placed second with six points from four matches. A win over Zimbabwe in their final Super 12 match will propel India to the top of the table.

Meanwhile, player-of-the-match, Shaheen Shah Afridi, who returned with stellar figures of 4/22, said it wasn’t easy to comeback from injury. “I have improved. Not easy to come back from injury and bowl 140ks but I’m trying my best. As a team, we are very happy. We’ve played great. Bowl in the right areas and fast was the plan,” said Afridi during the post-match presentation ceremony.

With their semifinals hope almost over till the last day of the Super 12 matches, Afridi laughed as he said the team was now definitely looking forward to the not the semis, but the final. “Now, we are looking forward to the final,” stated an elated Afridi.

Though India’s final match is currently underway, the four teams to have qualified for the semifinals of the T20 World Cup 2022 are – New Zealand, England, Pakistan and India.