Wade and Stoinis stun Pakistan as Australia reach final
Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis did the damage late on for Australia after David Warner’s fiery 49 had set the chase up, with four wickets from Shadab Khan not enough to stem the tide.
Tasked with chasing down 177 to win the second ICC Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final, Australia were hit with Shaheen Shah Afridi at his very best in the opening over, with Finch falling for a first-ball duck and Mitchell Marsh surviving a tight LBW review off the next delivery.
Australia rode out the storm and seemed to be taking control of the match as Warner raced to a rapid 49. But spinner Shadab Khan seemed to turn the game in Pakistan's favour, taking 4/26 including a controversial dismissal of Warner, to leave the game on a knife-edge.
Yet the remarkable semi-final had one final twist in the tail, as Wade and Stoinis let fly late on to get Australia across the line and knock out the tournament’s form team.
Stoinis finished with 40 from 31 balls. But it was Wade who was the hero, with his 41 coming off just 17 deliveries, including three consecutive sixes off Afridi to seal the win with an over to spare.
Shadab responds to Warner onslaught
The early loss of Finch brought Marsh to the crease and, after surviving Afridi’s stunning opening spell, he joined forces with Warner to lift Australia to 52/1 at the end of the Powerplay.
But the turn to Shadab ended the partnership as Marsh miscued to Asif Ali in the deep, and Steve Smith also fell to Shadab in the deep soon after, scoring just five from six.
Yet Warner kept the scoring going, with one particular ball yielding seven runs as Mohammad Hafeez got it all wrong to send a double-bouncing no-ball trickling towards Warner, who still somehow muscled it for six.
Warner looked to be taking the game away from Pakistan until he edged a Shadab googly behind one run short of his 50... or at least until it looked like he edged it behind.
Both the bowler and Rizwan raced away in celebration and a deflated Warner walked off without reviewing as the umpire raised his finger.
But replays suggested Warner had not connected with the ball, meaning there must have been some other movement or click, potentially in the bat handle, that confused all parties.
And Shadab wrapped up his four-for in his final over when the dangerous Glenn Maxwell was superbly caught by Haris Rauf.
Wade finishes it in style
With Stoinis and Wade at the crease, the equation for Australia was strikingly similar to New Zealand’s in the first semi-final, with over 50 runs required off the final four overs.
And, while the rate of scoring wasn’t quite as high, the big hits kept flowing for Australia, while – just as there was in Wednesday’s match – a crucial catch wasn’t taken in the deep as Hasan Ali put down Wade.
And Wade took full advantage of that drop, hitting Afridi for a superb ramped six, then whipping him into the stands over midwicket, and then sealing the win with another ramp as the 19th over went for 22 runs.
Rizwan and Zaman impress
Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan had punished Australia for two dropped catches as he reached another half century to help Pakistan to 176/4 after being put in to bat in the second semi-final.
Rizwan’s effort was his third fifty of the tournament and 10 of an extraordinary 2021 that has seen him become the first batter in T20I history to pass 1000 runs in a calendar year.
And his knock was even more impressive given coach Matthew Hayden’s reveal that the player had been in hospital as recently as Wednesday with a lung issue.
Rizwan’s platform didn’t go to waste either, with Fakhar Zaman producing a stunning display late on, smashing 55 off 22 deliveries including two enormous sixes off the final over.
Eventful innings for Rizwan
Rizwan’s innings wasn’t without chances, with Pakistan given a major let-off early on when he was dropped by Warner without scoring.
The opener went for a big hit off Maxwell and miscued it, but Warner, running backwards and watching the ball drop over his shoulder, couldn't hold onto the catch and watched as it trickled away for four.
And Pakistan had another lucky break off the final ball of that Powerplay, when Adam Zampa got his hands to what would have been a spectacular catch in the deep, but couldn't hold on to remove Rizwan.
Rizwan was also in the wars when he completely missed a short ball from Mitchell Starc that clattered into his helmet and left him needing treatment for some bruising to the side of the face.
Pakistan’s explosive middle-order has been a feature of their tournament so far, but the previous big-hitters failed to click as Australia tied them down.
Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik were both dismissed cheaply by Australia’s impressive quicks, but Zaman stepped up to replace their power, hitting four maximums in his sensational unbeaten 55.
Another solid start
Pakistan’s openers had got their side off to a flier after losing the toss and being put in to bat by Australia in the second semi-final.
Babar and Rizwan were two of the standout performers with the bat throughout the Super 12 stage, and they continued that fine run of form with the biggest opening stand against Australia in the tournament.
But the captain fell off the final ball before the drinks break when he was caught in the deep of Zampa to fall for a typically fluent 39 off 34, with Pakistan 71/1 after ten overs. They added 105 in the following ten, thanks largely to Rizwan and Zaman.
Mixed bag with the ball
Zampa was the standout performer with the ball for Australia, going for just a single boundary in his tight 1/22 off four overs.
And spin was the dominant force throughout, with Maxwell also getting through three overs for just 20 runs.
Pakistan targeted the slightly slower seamers, with Marsh getting hit for 11 off his single over and Josh Hazlewood receiving the treatment, pumped for 0/49 off four.
But ultimately that was not enough for Pakistan as Australia chased down 177 with six balls and five wickets remaining to set up a meeting with New Zealand in Sunday's final.