Dubai: Pakistan on Wednesday secured their place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup with thumping 45-run win against Namibia on Tuesday evening. One thing is obvious now that Pakistan is no more an unpredictable side as they had always been labelled in the past as Babar Azam’s team have been executing their game plane efficiently with four consecutive wins in this World Cup.
Babar changed the gameplan in Abu Dhabi as he opted to bat first. “I wanted to test batting first today and we have been successful. I am happy that Hafeez has gained his form right before the semi-final. I am confident to continue this form and plan according to our plan and with same intensity,” he said in his post-match comments.
All the Pakistan bowlers and batters have so far performed beyond expectations. Many still have to show their talent with the bat as they did not yet get a chance to perform so far because opening pair of Babar and wicketkeeper Mohammed Rizwan have been in superb form - denying early breakthrough to the bowlers.
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Their partnerships have so far been the key to Pakistan’s success. They scored 113 runs for the first wicket with Babar hitting 70 of 49 balls and Rizwan carried the bat with 79 on 50 deliveries with some extraordinary hitting in the slog overs. Hafeez, nicknamed ‘Professor’, gained his momentum and touch with excellent shots around the ground as he improvised to hit boundaries - leaving the Namibian bowlers helpless. Sloppy fielding and dropped catches added to the woes of the qualifiers.
Rizwan concluded the Pakistan innings with style as the crowd rose on their feet as he hit 23 runs in the last over of the innings - taking the total score to 189 in 20 overs. It was indeed a daunting task for young Namibia who could manage only 144/5 in 20 overs. Allrounder David Weise topped the Namibia batting with 43 runs in 30 balls with some impressive big hits in the slog overs. He is the only player who knows the Pakistan players well as he has been playing in the PSL.
The Pakistan attack were too much for the Namibian batters to score 190 runs in 20 overs. It was the first-ever T20 between the two teams and though Namibia lost the game, they must have enjoyed playing against the top class Pakistan.
Pakistan remained very much in control of the match - except the low score 29 in the first power play. Pakistan was 59 in 10 overs but they scored 130 runs in the last 10 overs with great hitting around the ground. Pakistan have last lost a T20 match in Abu Dhabi to England nearly a decade ago in February 2012. They have won their last six matches at this ground in the UAE.