Matthew Wade hit three sixes in a row to win a chase as Australia beat Pakistan by five wickets in a dramatic game on Thursday to reach the Twenty20 World Cup final. Chasing 177 for the win, Australia needed 22 points in the last two overs and Wade got a reprieve when Hasan Ali dropped Shaheen Afridi in the penultimate.
Wade sent Afridi’s next three balls hovering over the ropes and Australia hit their target with one more ball. “It was a great cricket match,” said Australian captain Aaron Finch after his team booked a spot in Sunday’s final against New Zealand and stayed on track to win the only major world trophy that escaped them.
“The way Matthew Wade kept his cool was exceptional, this partnership with Marcus Stoinis was crucial.” Wade’s 41 on 17 balls included four sixes and Stoinis finished undefeated on 40.
Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman broke windy half centuries to help Pakistan display 176-4 at Dubai International Stadium. Batted, Pakistan got off to a good start with Rizwan (67) and skipper Babar Azam (39) forging a 71-point partnership for the opening wicket.
Fakhar provided the late charge to the 2009 champions with an unbeaten 55 on 32 balls. The swing of Afridi’s left arm troubled the best in the tournament and Finch became his latest victim when Australia began their pursuit.
Afridi tricked Finch lbw for a duck to give Pakistan a dream start with the ball. David Warner (49) and Mitchell Marsh (28) survived Afridi’s scorching spell to rebuild the innings before Shadab Khan (4-26) tore the heart of Aussie First Order.
The spinner dealt a blow to the body when he took Warner behind, although reruns showed no advantage and the Aussie batsman did not review the decision. Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell failed but Stoinis kept Australia in the chase with his fluid stroke.
Wade struggled to cross the ball at first and was lucky when Ali dropped him in the middle of the wicket. He then produced a scoop shot, a pureblood pull, and another scoop, each going to six to silence the predominantly Pakistani fans in the stands.
âIf we had taken this take, it could have made a difference,â Babar said. “But the way we’ve played this tournament, the way we’ve gelled, I’m very satisfied as a captain.”
Pakistan had burst into the last four as the only team with a perfect record in the group stage. New Zealand defeated England nL1N2S11W7 in the first semi-final in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
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