Outstanding performance from Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan was not enough for Pakistan in securing their spot in the final of the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup 2021 as they suffered a narrow five-wicket defeat against Australia in Dubai on Thursday.
After being asked to bat first in a pressure match by Kangaroos’ captain Aaron Finch, the Men-in-Green started brilliantly once again, courtesy of a 71-run partnership between captain Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batter Rizwan.
Skipper was the first one to go back to the pavilion after scoring crafty 39 off 34 balls with the help of five fours. He was dismissed by Adam Zampa and caught by David Warner on the last ball of the 10th over.
After his captain’s departure, Rizwan and Zaman established a 72-run partnership for the second wicket to further strengthen the team’s position.
The star wicketkeeper completed his brilliant half-century and while doing so also became the first batsman ever to score 1,000 runs in T20Is in a calendar year.
Rizwan was dismissed in the 18th over on the bowling of Mitchell Starc and he went back to the pavilion after scoring a brilliant 67 off 52 balls with the help of three fours and four maximums.
From there on, it was Zaman’s show as he guided Pakistan to a competitive total of 176 for the loss of four wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
The left-hander remained unbeaten on 55 off just 32 balls with the help of three fours and four sixes.
For the Kangaroos, pacer Starc was the most successful bowler as he claimed two wickets but gave away 38 runs in his four overs.
In chase of a stiff target, Australia had a tough beginning as captain Aaron Finch was removed without scoring by sizzling Shaheen Shah Afridi’s in-dipper in the first over.
Opener David Warner did put some resistance and scored a brisk 49 off just 30 balls to keep the Kangaroos in the hunt for a spot in the grand finale.
However, leg-spinner Shadab’s brilliant spell broke the back of Australia’s chase and left them reeling at 96-5 in the 13th over.
But Marcus Stoinis and Mathew Wade’s brilliant knock kept Kangaroos’ run-chase alive and they eventually chased down the target in the 19th over.
For Pakistan, leggie Shadab was the standout performer with the ball in hand as he finished with figures of 4-26 in his quota of four overs, the best figures by any bowler in a T20 World Cup semifinal.