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09-Nov-2022 15:31:00 GMT
NZ vs Pak - 1st Semi-final T20 World Cup, SCG

Azam, Rizwan help Pakistan storm into third T20 World Cup final

Pakistan 153 for 3 (Rizwan 57, Babar 53, Boult 2-33) beat New Zealand 152 for 4 (Mitchell 53*, Williamson 46, Afridi 2-24) by seven wickets

Sydney: Pakistan reached the Men's T20 World Cup final after a thunderous seven-wicket win over New Zealand in Sydney.

Chasing 153 to win, Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan hit half-centuries in an opening stand of 105 to tee up a stunning victory.

Shan Masood hit the winning runs with five balls to spare to send the Pakistan fans wild at an electric SCG.

Daryl Mitchell had earlier hit an unbeaten half-century as New Zealand recovered from 49-3 to post 152-4.

Pakistan will now play England or India - who meet on Thursday - in Sunday's final in Melbourne.

It continues a stunning comeback for Pakistan, who were on the brink of elimination after losing to rivals India and then Zimbabwe in their first two matches of the tournament.

They needed a shock defeat of South Africa by the Netherlands to keep their hopes alive, but they are now just one match away from a second T20 World Cup triumph.

Pakistan made an awful start to this tournament but now seem to have almost unstoppable momentum as they look to repeat their success in the 1992 50-over World Cup in Australia underthe captaincy of Imran Khan.

They made a terrible start to that competition too, losing their first three group matches, but a dramatic revival - including a semi-final win over New Zealand - carried them to victory over England in the final.

There seems to be a similar sense of destiny here as they ride the crest of a wave fuelled by their boisterous, passionate support, who once against gathered in great numbers.

They blew New Zealand away largely thanks to a wonderful start with the bat by Babar and Rizwan, who have struggled for fluency this tournament but finally fired when it mattered.

A brutal opening assault lifted them to 55-0 after the powerplay and when they reached 87-0 at the halfway stage, the Kiwi players looked stunned.

Babar was eventually dismissed when he looked to heave Boult for six but instead holed out to Mitchell at long-on, but his 53 from 42 balls was more than he has scored in five previous innings at this World Cup combined.

Two more late wickets, including that of Rizwan for 57 from 43 balls, briefly had Pakistan nerves fluttering, but Masood saw them over the line to complete a comprehensive victory.

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