Pakistan beat New Zealand in semi final, MCG final vs India waits, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan - petsitterbank

Pakistan beat New Zealand in semi final, MCG final vs India waits, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan

One of the all-time World Cup fairy tales is alive and well after Pakistan crushed New Zealand at the SCG on Wednesday night to book its spot in the final.

Despite losing its first two matches of the tournament, Pakistan will now face the winner of England and bitter rivals India in the T20 World Cup final.

The final is on Sunday at the MCG and, should India make it, it will be one of the biggest cricket matches ever played with a viewership in the billions.

It’s crunch time at the T20 World Cup and you can catch every match live and ad-free in play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

2nd time lucky but SHOCKER first review! | 00:57

TALKING POINTS: Aussie great’s ‘Yoda moment’ as Pakistan fairytale lives; Kiwis bridesmaids yet again

Just making it to the finale is nothing short of a miracle for Pakistan, who was all but eliminated after just two games having lost on the final ball to India and Zimbabwe.

Three wins from its final group matches, and a scarcely believable upset by the Netherlands over South Africa, saw Pakistan reach the knockouts against all odds.

Then, in front of a sea of ​​green at a heaving SCG, Pakistan’s World Cup dream became just that bit more real.

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat, but was never allowed to hit top gear, posting 4-152.

Pakistan speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi led from the front with 2-24 from his four overs, while Mohammad Nawaz (1-12) and Naseem Shah (0-30) helped turn the screws.

The Black Caps’ topscorer was Daryl Mitchell, who made an unbeaten 53 off 35, but his teammates struggled to score at more than a run-a-ball on a slowing wicket.

Kane Williamson made 46 off 42 balls and Devon Conway contributed with 21 off 20, although New Zealand’s total always felt below par.

And so it was.

Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam left that in no doubt as they powered Pakistan towards victory.

It was a fitting moment for the pair who had been uncharacteristically struggling at the tournament. Their form was considered the missing piece to the puzzle — now Pakistan is a major threat in the end.

Nonetheless, the Kiwis will wonder what could’ve been had Conway not dropped Babar on the first ball he faced. Trent Boult found his outside edge in the first over but Conway couldn’t take the tough chance low and to his right.

Pakistan went on to take 0-55 from the powerplay, putting the side in complete control of the contest.

New Zealand turned to spin after the powerplay and almost had Babar out again, although ball-tracking surprisingly showed the delivery going over the stumps despite a lack of bounce on the night.

By the time New Zealand did strike, the match was well out of its hands.

Babar made 53 off 42 balls before he holed out in the deep to Boult, leaving Pakistan at 1-105 with more than seven overs remaining.

Rizwan refused to take his foot off the accelerator and was capably supported by Mohammad Haris. He made 57 off 43 and was eventually caught behind, with Boult taking a second wicket.

That led to a brief moment of weakness from Pakistan, but it was overcome by Haris with two big back-to-back boundaries in the 18th over.

He failed to hit the winning runs and was caught for 30 off 26 off the final ball off the 19th over.

A straight drive down the ground from Shan Masood finished the job in the final over.

Earlier, the first innings started with a dramatic over from Afridi. Having been crunched for four on his first ball, the next two saw umpire Marais Erasmus’ finger go up.

The first proved to be a shocking lbw call. Erasmus took an eternity to fire opener Finn Allen and, when he eventually did, a hasty review revealed a massive inside edge.

But the very next ball was a near carbon copy from Afridi — the only thing missing this time was the inside edge, meaning Allen was on his way for just four.

His opening partner Conway made 21 off 20 balls before he was brilliantly run-out by Shadab Khan at the end of the sixth over.

Simon Doull wasn’t impressed with Conway’s lack of a dive.

“If you want to preserve your wicket, you should be diving,” he said. “You’ll see Glenn Phillips diving I’m sure if there is any chance of being run out. If Conway dives, I think he’s on. He’s only out by six or eight inches.

“If you really put a price on your wicket, the dive has to be a part of the game and every batter needs to produce it.”

That brought Glenn Phillips to the crease but he didn’t last long, as he chipped a return catch to Nawaz for six off eight.

Williamson plodded along for the Kiwis with 46 off 42 but failed to accelerate through the back end as he was deceived by an Afridi slower ball. Williamson walked across his stumps and went to play a lap sweep but Afridi took the pace off and knocked over his leg stump.

Mitchell and James Neesham (16 off 12) finished off the innings for the Kiwis, struggling to provide a flurry of boundaries in the back end.

The loss means this golden era for New Zealand white ball cricket is still without a piece of silverware to show for it.

A large portion of this group played in the finals of the 2019 ODI World Cup, and last year’s T20 World Cup, which it lost in a super over to England, and to Australia respectively.

The Black Caps hoped it would be third time lucky this year but has come up short once again.

It also extends New Zealand’s winless record against Pakistan in semi finals to four after defeat in 1992, 1999 and 2007.

New Zealand has played 12 semi finals across T20 and ODI World Cups, winning just three times.

India and England face off in their World Cup semi final at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night (7pm AEDT).

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