England will play Pakistan in the T20 World Cup final IF they beat India as Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan propel their side to huge victory over New Zealand in Sydney
- Pakistan have advanced to the T20 World Cup final after beating New Zealand
- Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan helped chase down a target of 153 runs
- It means they will play either England or India in Sunday’s final in Melbourne
Pakistan completed a remarkable turnaround from the brink of elimination to the final of the Twenty20 World Cup on Wednesday when they smashed New Zealand in Sydney.
It looked as if Pakistan’s World Cup was already over when they were edged out by India in heart-breaking fashion at the MCG and then lost to Zimbabwe in their second game.
But somehow they reached the last four – considerably helped by the Netherlands beating South Africa – and now they will return to Melbourne on Sunday to face the winner of Thursday’s second semi-final between England and India after a remarkable night at the SCG.
Pakistan have reached the Twenty20 World Cup final after defeating New Zealand
The Black Caps elected to bat first but only made a total of 152 runs at the SCG on Wednesday
New Zealand bowler Trent Boult looks dejected with the Kiwis struggling in the field
Pakistan were outstanding with the ball, in particular the brilliant Shaheen Afridi, but Daryl Mitchell clawed New Zealand up to a competitive 152 for four with an unbeaten 53.
But it was not enough as Pakistan’s outstanding openers in Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan returned to form after a quiet tournament with an opening stand of 105 off 12.4 overs.
Pakistan batting coach and Australian great Matthew Hayden predicted Babar would produce ‘something special’ here after scoring just 39 runs in the tournament before now – and after he was dropped by Devon Conway before he had scored the Pakistan captain moved on to 53 before he fell to Trent Boult.
Rizwan then reached 57 before he fell off what was mightily close to a waist high no ball from Boult but Mohammad Haris settled any Pakistan nerves by thrillingly hitting Lockie Ferguson for four and six in successive deliveries before falling for 30 off 26 balls.
Pakistan fans celebrate and will face England or India in the final on Sunday in Melbourne
Pakistan still got home by seven wickets with five balls to spare when Shan Masood hit the winning single to the delight of the ecstatic majority of their supporters in a crowd in excess of 35,000 at the SCG.
There are obvious echoes here of Imran Khan’s ‘cornered tigers’ who were all but out of the 1992 50-over World Cup before recovering to beat England in the final – also at the MCG. It would be some repeat if Babar’s Pakistan go on to win this World Cup now, particularly if they again face England in the final at the same ground.
‘Myself and Babar have been struggling in the conditions here,’ said Rizwan afterwards. ‘But we kept on fighting and still believed. We took on the new ball because 152 was a good score on this pitch and now we are going to the final.’