Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade star as Australia stun Pakistan to reach T20 World Cup final

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·3-min read
Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade star as Australia stun Pakistan to reach T20 World Cup final
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Australia stunned a partisan Dubai crowd by pulling off a superb heist to knock Pakistan out of the T20 World Cup and set up an all-Antipodean final against New Zealand on Sunday.

The semi-finals of this tournament have delivered in style, with both chasing teams coming from nowhere to knock big favourites out. It is a final few predicted but the upshot is that this tournament will have a new winner.

For Australia, the heroes were Marcus Stoinis (40 from 31) and Matthew Wade (41 off 17), both of whom would consider themselves out of position in the lower middle order. They shared an extraordinary stand of 81 in 40 balls, to get Australia home by five wickets with an over to spare, the identical scoreline to the first semi-final.

Like New Zealand, they needed more than 60 from the final five overs, and completed the job with ease. Stoinis set them on their way, but Wade finished the match with three successive sixes off Shaheen Shah Afridi. It is not so long that Australia seemed in crisis after being crushed by England.

Pakistan did a lot right. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan (who, remarkably, is reported to have spent two nights in ICU with a chest infection since Pakistan’s last game) set them on their way with another excellent opening stand. In the chase, Shaheen Shah Afridi produced another gem of an opening over, then Shadab Khan picked up four wickets – one per over – to put Pakistan in charge. His four for 26 were the best figures ever in the men’s T20 World Cup semi-final, and seemed to have Pakistan on course for victory.

Even then, though, with David Warner and Glenn Maxwell out, and Australia needing 81 more from 46 balls, the game writhed and wriggled. No one told Stoinis or Wade that this game was over, and they set about building an outstanding partnership with sixes raining down off Pakistan’s lacklustre death bowling.

Pakistan were left to rue some costly errors. Hasan Ali bowled poorly, and dropped Wade in the deep the ball before he launched his trio of sixes. Mohammad Hafeez bowled a dreadful over including a no-ball that bounced twice and was sent for six during Warner’s onslaught.

Pakistan might reflect, too, that they left a few out there with the bat after Babar and Rizwan’s silky start. Having lost the toss, they asked Australia to chase 177, the highest score in Dubai this tournament.

But from a platform of 47 without loss in the powerplay, they stalled a little. Babar fell after stalling against spin, while Rizwan was a little two-paced: dot or boundary. They bow out as the tournament’s leading runscorers, after an electric campaign for their team.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

It was the contributions of Adam Zampa – who dismissed Babar and conceded just 23 runs – and Pat Cummins, whose 19th over went for just three, that limited Pakistan to a score that felt only around par with chasing providing such an advantage in this tournament.

It was a relief for Pakistan that, with Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik failing, Fakhar Zaman came to the party, launching four sixes in his unbeaten 55, while also almost decapitating umpire

Chris Gaffaney with a fizzing straight drive. That two of those sixes came in Mitchell Starc’s final over meant Pakistan went to the break buoyant.

Shaheen gave Pakistan the dream start to their chase, pinning Aaron Finch for an lbw that was the closer than the batter realised in a gripping opening over.

Warner and Mitchell Marsh counter-attacked, but both fell to Shadab. He picked up Marsh caught in the deep in his first over, Steve Smith in similar fashion in his second. In his third, Warner – who had blitzed his way to 49 – was caught behind, although technology showed that he had not hit it. In Shadab’s final over, Maxwell went for the switch-hit, but picked out the man in the deep.

Pakistan were in total control and the crowd were jubilant, but Stoinis and Wade – with their heads clear – had other ideas.

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