Pakistan’s run to the final of this year’s T20 World Cup has evoked memories of 1992 for many Pakistan fans. Three decades ago, it was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that an Imran Khan-led Pakistan secured its first World Cup with a 22-run win over England. Imran, Pakistan’s winning captain, said after the final: “I was thankful to the Almighty that I was able to leave cricket with dignity. It is a blessing that has been denied to greater cricketers than myself.’’
A jubilant Pakistan team after a seven-wicket win over New Zealand sent it into the 2022 T20 World Cup final. It caps a stunning comeback for Pakistan, which was on the brink of elimination after losing to India and then Zimbabwe in its first two matches of the tournament. Pakistan will now play England or India in Melbourne.
Chasing 153 to win, Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan hit fifties in an 105-run opening stand to set up a stunning victory. Babar was eventually dismissed by Boult for 53 from 42 balls. Rizwan went on to raise his fifty before falling for a 43-ball 57.
Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten fifty helped New Zealand recover from 49 for 3 to post 152 for 4. Mitchell forged a 68-run partnership for the fourth wicket with skipper Kane Williamson, who fell for a 42-ball 46. The semifinal was played on a used wicket, which meant runs were hard to come by.
Shadab Khan’s moment of brilliance in the field accounted for New Zealand opener Devon Conway. Off the last ball of the PowerPlay, the left-hander played uppishly towards mid-off and took for a risky single. Shadab, one of the best fielders in the Pakistan line-up, swooped in on the ball and caught Conway short of his crease with a direct hit.
Shaheen Afridi’s first over set the tone for New Zealand’s innings. Finn Allen drove his first ball of the match for four before being given out lbw off the next delivery. Allen successfully overturned the decision only to be trapped in front next ball. Shaheen, who missed the 2022 Asia Cup due to injury, returned figures of 2 for 24.
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