Pakistan thrash NZ to keep dream of ’92 alive

SYDNEY (Agencies): World top opening pair skipper Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan guided Pakistan to reach the grand final of the T20 World Cricket Cup being played at Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia. They defeated New Zealand by seven wickets in the first semi-final at Sydney and reached the final for the third time.
On behalf of Pakistan, the pair of Muhammad Rizwan and Babar Azam once again played an important role in the victory of Pakistan by establishing a partnership of 100 runs and also become the world no. pairing for their century contribution. It is for the first time that Pakistan reached the final after a gap of 13-year, last time Pakistan won the World Cup in 2009 by defeating Sri Lanka.
Pakistan qualified for the T20 World Cup final for the third time after defeating New Zealand by seven wickets in the first semi-final in Sydney while the other semi-final was played between England and India at Adelaide Oval.
Winning the toss New Zealand’s target of 153 runs was achieved by Pakistan on the first ball of the last over. Later, another Peshawari Muhammad Haris showing a great anticipation hitting a six and boundary at the time when Pakistan badly needed such a class, putting the team in solid position.
Haris played an excellent innings of 30 runs off 26 balls and Pakistan won by seven wickets. Muhammad Rizwan played a match-winning innings of 57 runs and also won the man of the match award. Babar Azam scored 53 runs with the help of seven fours. The first wicket partnership between the two made 105 runs. Trent Boult dismissed two players. This is Pakistan’s fifth victory against New Zealand in the history of the World Cup.
In Sydney, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to bat first. Batting first, the Kiwi team scored 152 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in the allotted 20 overs. Daryl Mitchell scored 53 runs and Captain Kane Williamson scored 46. Mitchell scored three fours and a six while Kane Williamson scored three fours. Finn Allen 4, Dion Conway 21, Glenn Phillips 6, James Neesham scored 14 among other players. On behalf of Shaheen Shah Afridi took 2 wickets while Mohammad Nawaz took one wicket.
In the history of the T20 World Cup, both the teams have now faced each other 7 times, in which the national team has had a heavy lead. Pakistan has defeated the rival team 5 times while Kiwis have won 2 times.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam took a sweeping jibe at the Men In Green’s critics and asked them to “enjoy” now as the team had made it to the T20 World Cup final.
Before the semi-final, when Pakistan beat New Zealand by seven wickets, everyone had questions about the opening pair of the team — Babar and wicket-keeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan. But after their sensational performance in the crucial match, they have proved their critics wrong.
In a post-win press conference, the captain acknowledged that Pakistan’s start in the multi-nation tournament was not up to the mark; the team lost to India and then minnows Zimbabwe. But then, they never looked back as they defeated all three teams in the group stage. And thanks to the Netherlands, who won against South Africa, Pakistan secured their semi-final berth.
“There are ups and downs in cricket, but I believed that we would stage a comeback. I have my team management to thank as they kept my morale high,” Babar said. For the final of the tournament, the skipper said no matter which team Pakistan faces, the Men In Green would give it their 100%. They will face either India or England, who play the second semi-final on Thursday in Adelaide.
Lamenting over the criticism, he said that people denounced the team’s performance. “If the captain is being criticised, it means that the team is also being criticised.” “You can indeed criticise, but refrain from getting personal. Critics should now enjoy as the team has reached the final,” he added.