Pakistan into the Final
Pakistan into the finals

On 9 November, a scintillating performance from Pakistan’s bowlers restricted New Zealand’s batsmen to 152 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground. New Zealand played great cricket throughout the tournament, but it was one of those days they would try to forget

Pakistan into the finals
Pakistan Won the semi-final 1

Winning the toss, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson decided to bat first and set a target of 153 runs in front of Pakistan. New Zealand had a very poor start in this match. They lost Finn Allen in the very first over. Conway (21) and Glenn Phillips (06) couldn’t contribute much to the team. Then a 68 runs partnership between skipper Williamson and Daryl Mitchell (with Captain scoring 46 off 42 and Daryl Mitchell scoring 53 in 35 balls) put New Zealand into a better condition for at least having something on the board for bowlers to defend.

New Zealand inning- 152/4 (20)

As we are almost familiar with the fact that Pakistan loves chasing the target. They had 153 to chase down and they got the perfect start again. The Pakistani openers were all over the New Zealand bowling attack. Another 100+ runs partnership for the first wicket. Babar Azam played a slow but responsible inning and Rizwan was the aggressor. Babar Azam found luck on a few occasions and scored half-ton on 38 balls and soon got caught. Rizwan too hit 50 in 35 balls.

A 30-run cameo by young Mohammad Haris put Pakistan in the driving seat and in the end, Pakistan reached the destination with 5 balls to spare. The point to talk for New Zealand in the dressing room is that they were sluggish on the field

Pakistan Inning- 153/3 (19.1)

It is unbelievable how things are falling for Pakistan as they make their first T20 World Cup final in 13 years. Today it was the opening pair, the much-hyped opening pair of Babar and Rizwan, who reached the spot with a half-century. His bowling was again brilliant as he restricted New Zealand to 152 runs.

But if they continue to have problems at the top, it can be difficult to score on a slow pitch. However, everything came to a halt as both of them started firing and the nerves calmed down. Boult and Southee scored a lot of runs, but New Zealand also could not perform well with the new ball. The fielding was also a bit sloppy unlike Pakistan, which was only ON tonight!

Do fielding blips cost New Zealand?

As mentioned earlier, New Zealand has been the best fielding side of the tournament with an 88 percent success rate until the Super 12. They have dropped 3 and taken 19 catches (before the Semi-finals), but unfortunately for them – they missed 3 catches and a few run-outs tonight, which include Babar Azam dropping at 0. They were unable to make the most of the opportunity. This was Babar Azam’s best score of this World Cup and engineered a 100-plus partnership with Rizwan (the first pair to have 3 100-plus stands in a T20 World Cup).

NZ was sluggish on the field
NZ was sluggish on the field

Who Said What? Pakistan vs New Zealand

Mohammad Rizwan (Player of the Match): Luckily, the fifty was in the semifinal. Babar and I were struggling but we worked hard and believed. We kept fighting. When we crossed the boundary line, we decided to take the attack to the new ball bowlers. When we finished the powerplay, we knew one of us had to bat deep as it was a tricky pitch. Our start (to the tournament) wasn’t good, but the guys kept believing.

Matthew Hayden (Pakistan team mentor): 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). Could be a truer surface and a nicer batting track in Melbourne. The sky is the limit. You can never beat down class.

Both these guys (Babar, and Rizwan) have done it for a number of years. 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 consistently 150s. If Pakistan on their day turns up, they are unstoppable. Shadab is a great fighter. To win any tournament you got to fight. I would like to play India in the final purely because of the big spectacle.

Williamson: We were put under pressure early. Pakistan bowled very nicely. We managed to wrestle back some momentum with an unbelievable knock from Mitchell. At the halfway stage we were feeling it was a competitive total. The wicket was a bit tough – used surface. Very disappointing to not make Pakistan work a lot harder. They were outstanding.

We were outplayed. It’s a tough pill for us to swallow. Babar and Rizwan put us under pressure. If we’re honest, we wanted to be more disciplined in our areas. At the end of the day, Pakistan certainly deserves to be the winner. There’s been a lot of good cricket. Throughout the round-robin, we played nicely. Today we weren’t at our best. Having said that, we know the fickle nature of T20 cricket.

Babar: Thanks to the crowd. We feel like we’re playing at home. Got a good start with the first 6 overs with the ball. Later on, the ball didn’t come on well. Fast bowlers finished well. We planned before going that we’ll utilize the powerplay. He’s a young guy and showing his aggression (Haris). He’s playing very well. We’re going to enjoy this moment. But at the same time have focused on the final.

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