Half-centuries from openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan give Pakistan a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the first semi-final in Sydney on Wednesday. Young Mohammad Haris provided the finishing touches with a 30 off 26 balls to seal the victory and book a place in the final. Earlier, Shaheen Afridi struck twice to restrict New Zealand to 152/4. Here’s how it happened.
Emphatic win for Pakistan
Pakistan comfortably beat New Zealand by seven wickets. After a superb opening stand between Babar Azam and Rizwan, new batting sensation Mohammed Haris (30 off 26 balls) took Pakistan closer to victory. Shan Masood scored the winning run.
OUT: Mohammed Haris falls
Haris (30 off 26 balls) is caught by Finn Allen off Mitchell Santner. What an innings he has played to bring Pakistan close to victory. Pakistan need 2 runs in 6 balls
OUT: Boult strikes again
Rizwan is caught by Ferguson off Trent Boult, while trying to guide a full toss over point. He scored 57 (43 balls). Pakistan need 21 in 18 balls.
Rizwan scores 23rd half-century
Mohammad Rizwan completes his 23rd Twenty20 International half-century. Now Pakistan will need the dependable batter to continue till the end. Needing only about a run an over, Pakistan need to adopt a composed approach. After 14 overs, Pakistan are 113/1.
Babar Azam makes the difference
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam finds his scoring touch and cracks his first 50 of the tournament while chasing 152 to win the semi-final against New Zealand. He needed a bit of luck, and he got it today when he was dropped on zero by the Kiwi wicketkeeper Devon Conway. No bowler could not stop him as he completed 50 in just 38 balls. Though Azam got out at 53, he had already placed the team in a winning position. Pakistan need 43 runs in 41 balls
OUT: Babar Azam departs after half-century
Trent Boult gives New Zealand the breakthrough, getting rid of the Pakistan skipper Babar Azam after he had scored 53. Boult finally has his man, who was dropped in the first over. But Azam has done enough damage, and Pakistan are 109/1 in 13 overs.
Azam, Rizwan put on 100-run stand
Pakistan’s dependable opening combination has come back to form at the crucial stage. It’s the first time after a long gap that Rizwan and Azam have put on a 100-run partnership. All through this World Cup they have failed to live up to expectations, and the middle order was shoring up Pakistan. This is their third World Cup first-wicket century stand, which is a record.
10 overs: Pakistan in total command
The match is firmly in Pakistan’s grasp. They are racing to the target, and the biggest difference between Pakistan's and New Zealand’s innings is the number of boundaries scored. After 10 overs, Pakistan are 87 for no loss. New Zealand, in contrast, were 59/3. Pakistan are in a great position with Azam batting on 43 (34) and Rizwan 41 (26). These experienced batters need to play the next couple of overs as the fall of a wicket now will shift the momentum to New Zealand.
6 overs: Rizwan, Azam leave Kiwi attack in disarray
New Zealand’s bowling is in disarray for the first time in the tournament. The Kiwis have only used five bowlers throughout the tournament as Kane Williamson’s trusted pacers Trent Boult and Tim Southee have always delivered. But today, Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan, who benefitted from a dropped chance, and skipper Babar Azam thrashed the Kiwi attack to get the extra runs in the powerplay. After six overs, Pakistan are 55/0 with Rizwan on 28 and Azam 25.
Babar Azam finds his form
Skipper Babar Azam runs into form when it was required the most. Pakistan batters Babar and Rizwan give Pakistan a flying start in their chase of 152 runs. They piled up 55/0 in the first six overs, making the most of the powerplay
Pakistan launch the chase
Pakistani openers Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan are at the crease to chase down 152 runs. Skipper Babar Azam needs to stand up today and lead the run chase. Rizwan is off to a good start, scoring a boundary off the first ball.
Mid-match summary: Pakistan need a good start to chase challenging target
Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten 53 and Kane Williamson’s stubborn 46 gave New Zealand a challenging total in the first semi-final against Pakistan. Tight bowling and fielding from Pakistan helped keep New Zealand to an under-par 152/4 in 20 overs.
The average first innings score at Sydney is 165, but this a worn out pitch for the seventh match may make the chase difficult. New Zealand might be 15 runs short, but they have the bowlers and fielders to make up for it. Pakistan will require a good start.
20 overs: Good display by Pakistan restrict Kiwis to 152
Superb bowling and fielding by Pakistan helped restrict New Zealand to 152/4 in 20 overs. Spinners and pacers bowled tight lines and lengths making the batters work hard for runs. The semifinal is evenly poised, but Pakistan can grab the advantage if they do not lose early wickets.
OUT: Afridi strikes, Williamson exits
Williamson 46 (42 balls) is deceived by a slower delivery from Shaheen Afridi while trying to scoop the ball, and is bowled. New Zealand are 123/4 in the 17th over.
15 overs: New Zealand ready for slog-over assault
New Zealand are shifting gears and the 57-run partnership in 7 overs between Williamson and Mitchell is threatening to take the match away from Pakistan. In the last five overs, New Zealand have been in control and 47 runs have come during this phase despite two economical overs from Shadab. It’s a healthy run rate and both batters are striking well. Usually, the last five overs could fetch around 60 runs, which means an above-par score. After 15 overs, New Zealand are 106/3 with Williamson on 41 and Mitchell on a 20-ball 31.
New Zealand steady the innings
Pakistan bowlers need wickets to stop New Zealand from scoring a big total. Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson 34 (29 balls) and Daryl Mitchell on 21 (13) have steadied the innings and are looking to post a competitive total of 150 runs plus on the slow wicket. New Zealand are 90/3 in 13 overs.
10 overs: Wickets halt New Zealand’s progress
The wickets of Conway and Glenn Phillips have stopped the run flow for New Zealand. The fielders, almost 10-15 metres inside the boundary line, make it difficult to go for the extra run. Good captaincy from Babar Azam. Kane Williamson's display in the next five overs could determine the course of the match. After 10 overs, New Zealand are 59/3. Another 100 are needed in the final 10. Williamson is on 23 (24 balls).
OUT: Third wicket down for New Zealand
Mohammad Nawaz strikes. Glenn Phillips 6 is caught and bowled by Nawaz and New Zealand slides to 49/3 in 8 overs
6 overs: New Zealand’s advantage slips a bit
New Zealand’s near-perfect start, despite the loss third-ball loss of Finn Allen, suffered a setback when the dangerous Devon Conway was run out on the last ball of the powerplay (six overs). The New Zealand opener was caught short of his crease at the non-striker’s end by Shadab Khan's throw. After 6 overs, New Zealand are 38/2.
OUT: Conway run out by Shadab Khan
Kiwi left-arm opener Devon Conway 21(20 balls), who was looking dangerous, is run out. A direct throw at the bowling end by Shadab Khan caught the batter short. During the powerplay, Pakistan fielding has been superb. New Zealand are 38/2
OUT: A dramatic start
Afridi strikes with the third ball of the innings after a first-ball four by Finn Allen. Finn Allen (4) is LBW to Afridi. New Zealand are 4/1 in 0.3 overs
Afridi leads Pakistan attack
Left-arm ace pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi opens the bowling for Pakistan while Kiwi batters Finn Allen and Conway are at the crease.
Williamson wins toss and elects to bat
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson wins the toss and elects to bat first. This must be worrisome for Pakistan as six of the seven games at this venue have been won by the teams batting first. Batting first in a knockout game is a huge advantage, but Pakistan can neutralise it if they strike early. Both teams are unchanged. The pitch is the same as the one Pakistan beat Bangladesh.
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Haris, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi.
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wk), Kane Williamson (captain), Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Preview: Pakistan’s bowling given them the edge
By A.K.S. Satish, Sports Editor
Dubai: Pakistan’s route to the semifinal mirrors their magical journey in the 1992 ICC World Cup. They are two matches away from repeating the triumph. The first hurdle is New Zealand, whose pacers should get assistance from the slow Sydney pitch. So it’s important for Pakistan batter to have a good start.
Similarly, the Pakistan fast bowlers will love this strip. Both teams have their share of batting worries, but they have batters to pull them through. So, it will boil down to a battle between the bowlers, and Pakistan have the edge.