Cricket - Pak Sharjah
Pakistan team walk back after making it five wins out of five in their Super-12 matches at Sharjah Stadium. Image Credit: AFP

Sharjah: Babar Azam has been in irresistible form in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The Pakistan skipper notched up his fourth half-century in five matches, making him the best batsman in the tournament. But it was Pakistan’s experienced campaigners Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, who blew away Scotland’s challenge.

Sunday’s win at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium made Pakistan the only unbeaten team, and the five-game win streak gives them a cloak of invincibility as they march into the last four. The 10 points helped them top Group 2, and they will face Australia in the semi-final in Dubai on Thursday.

England, who finished on top in Group 1 despite the loss to South Africa, will take on New Zealand, who overcame the challenge of Afghanistan. England and New Zealand clash in the semi-final at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

India, one of the pre-tournament favourites, crashed out after Afghanistan’s loss. Their game against Namibia in Dubai on Monday is now a dead rubber.


Scotland joined Bangladesh as the only team to lose all their matches in the Super 12s. It’s a heartbreak for a team that came into the main draw with wins over Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Oman in Round One. But the Super 12s has been a huge learning curve.

There is a big gulf between Scotland and Pakistan. It was a mismatch, although Scotland kept Pakistan on a tight leash in the early part with some excellent bowling. Skipper Babar Azam (66 of 47 balls) kept Pakistan in the game before veterans Hafeez (31 off 19) and Malik (54 off 18) lit the fuse for the fireworks late in the innings.

That’s when Scotland’s inexperience shone through. The last eight overs leaked 114 runs, and 77 came from the last five when Malik was blazing away. Chris Greaves gave away 23 in the final over as Malik took three sixes and a four. Malik’s fifty is the fastest in the tournament, tying with KL Rahul of India.

A target of 190 looked beyond Scotland’s capabilities. Although they started with a flourish, Scottish batsmen struggled against top-class spin and never recovered from leggie Sadab Khan’s double strike. Khan (2-14) and Imad Wasim (0-17) strangled the scoring, and there was no escape route for Scotland.

The Scots may have lost all their matches, but they would benefit enormously from the experience. And it will stand in good stead in the tournaments to come.

Pakistan’s five wins have resulted from teamwork, and they go into the semi-finals high on confidence.