Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan’s opening stand of 105 runs propelled Pakistan to their seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the semi-final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Sydney on Wednesday.
New Zealand had lost three key wickets for just 49 runs when Mitchell joined skipper Kane Williamson at the crease. Mitchell went on the charge straightaway whereas Williamson played the second fiddle, as the duo put on a stand of 68 runs for the fourth wicket.
Williamson departed for 46 from 42 deliveries just when their innings entered the death over but Mitchell carried on and made his way to a superb knock of 53* from just 35 deliveries to help New Zealand cross 150.
For Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-0-24-2 to his name. But the entire unit delivered a disciplined performance on a used track to restrict the Kiwis to a chaseable target.
Pakistan needed a steady start to chase the target down but they got much more than that as Babar and Rizwan put on a show to lay the base for their victory. The duo put on a stand of 105 runs, with both batters making their way to well-deserved fifties. While Rizwan scored 57 from 43 deliveries, Babar made his way to a 42-ball knock of 53.
Pakistan needed just 48 to win from 44 deliveries when their partnership came to an end and the middle-order finished the job off with perfection, chasing the target down with seven wickets and five balls to spare.
This is a tremendous achievement for Pakistan considering that they lost their first two matches in the Super 12. They bounced back from there, registering three wins on the trot, and made their way to the semi-finals. And now they are in the final having beaten New Zealand comprehensively. Pakistan already had the mental edge coming into this contest as they had also beaten the Kiwis in the final of the tri-series ahead of the tournament. Now, they will take on either India or England in the T20 World Cup final at the MCG in Melbourne on November 13.