Wade, Stoinis stun Pakistan

Australia will face New Zealand in the final

Wade, Stoinis stun Pakistan
©T20 World Cup

DUBAI: Australia stunned Pakistan with a sensational run chase, setting up an all-antipodean final at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021.

After David Warner's fiery 49 had set up the chase, Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis did the damage late on for Australia, with Shadab Khan's four wickets 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 met with Shaheen Shah Afridi at his best in the first over, with Aaron Finch falling for a first-ball duck and Mitchell Marsh surviving a tight LBW review off the next delivery.

Australia weathered the storm and appeared to be in command of the match as Warner raced to a fiery 49. But Pakistan's spinner Shadab Khan appeared to turn the game in their favor, taking 4/26, including a controversial dismissal of Warner, to leave the game on a knife-edge.

The remarkable semi-final, however, had one final twist in the tail, as Wade and Stoinis let fly late in the game to get Australia over the line and knock out the tournament's form team.

Stoinis finished with a total of 40 points from 31 balls. Wade, however, was the hero, scoring 41 off just 17 deliveries, including three consecutive sixes off Afridi to seal the win with an over to spare.

Following the early loss of Finch, Mitchell Marsh took 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.

The turn to Shadab, however, ended the partnership as Marsh miscued to Asif Ali in the deep, and Steve Smith soon after fell to Shadab in the deep, scoring only five from six.

Nonetheless, Warner kept the scoring going, with one particular ball yielding seven runs as Mohammad Hafeez got everything wrong to send a double-bouncing no-ball trickling towards Warner, who still muscled it for six.

Warner appeared to be taking the game away from Pakistan until he edged a Shadab googly behind one run short of his 50... or until it appeared that he edged it behind.

Both the bowler and Rizwan dashed away in celebration, while an enraged Warner walked away, the umpire raising his finger.

However, replays indicated that Warner did not make contact with the ball, implying that there was some other movement or click, possibly in the bat handle, that perplexed all parties.

And in his final over, Shadab completed his four-for when the dangerous Glenn Maxwell was superbly caught by Haris Rauf.

With Stoinis and Wade at the crease, Australia's equation was eerily similar to New Zealand's in the first semi-final, with over 50 runs required off the final four overs.

And, while the scoring rate wasn't quite as high, Australia's big hits kept coming, while – just like in Wednesday's match – a crucial catch wasn't taken in the deep as Hasan Ali put down Wade.

Wade took full advantage of the 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 finished with 22 runs.

Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan hit another half-century to help Pakistan reach 176/4 after being put in to bat in the second semi-final after Australia dropped two catches.

Rizwan's 50 was his third of the tournament and tenth of an incredible 2021 that has seen him become the first batter in T20I history to score 1,000 runs in a calendar year.

And his knock was all the more impressive given that coach Matthew Hayden revealed the player had been in the hospital with a virus as recently as Wednesday.

Rizwan's platform didn't go to waste either, with Fakhar Zaman putting on a stunning late-innings performance, smashing 55 off 22 deliveries, including two massive sixes off the final over.

Rizwan's innings was not without chances, with Pakistan suffering a major setback when he was dropped by David Warner without scoring early on.

The opener attempted a big hit off Glenn Maxwell and miscued it, but Warner, running backwards and watching the ball drop over his shoulder, couldn't hold onto the catch and let it slip away for four.

And Pakistan got another lucky break off the final ball of that Powerplay, when Adam Zampa got his hands on what would have been a spectacular catch in the deep, but couldn't hold on to dismiss Rizwan.

Rizwan was also in the wars when he completely missed a short ball from Mitchell Starc, causing it to clatter into his helmet and leave him with bruising on the side of his face.

Pakistan's explosive middle-order has been a highlight of the tournament so far, but the previous big-hitters failed to connect as Australia pinned them down.

Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik were both dismissed cheaply by Australia's quicks, but Zaman stepped up to replace their power, hitting four maximums in his sensational unbeaten 55.

After losing the toss and being put in to bat by Australia in the second semi-final, Pakistan's openers got their team off to a flying start.

Babar and Rizwan were two of the standout batsmen throughout the Super 12 stage, and they continued that fine form with the tournament's largest opening stand against Australia.

However, the captain was caught in the deep by Adam Zampa on the final ball before the drinks break for a typically fluent 39 off 34, leaving Pakistan 71/1 after ten overs. They added 105 in the next ten minutes, largely thanks to Rizwan and Zaman.

Australia's standout performer with the ball was Adam Zampa, who went for just one boundary in his tight 1/22 off four overs.

And spin was the dominant force throughout, with Glenn Maxwell also pitching three overs for 20 runs.

Pakistan targeted the slower seamers, with Marsh being hit for 11 off his single over and Josh Hazlewood being pumped for 0/49 off four overs.

However, that was insufficient for Pakistan, as Australia chased down 177 with six balls and five wickets remaining.

Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - T20 World Cup