Pakistan seal semi-final spot
ADELAIDE. — Pakistan sealed the final semi-final spot at the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup with a nervy five-wicket win over Bangladesh yesterday.
Chasing 128 to win, they made hard work of it in Adelaide, but Mohammad Haris’ enterprising 31 off 18 balls proved pivotal as they won in 18.1 overs.
South Africa’s 13-run defeat by the Netherlands meant the winner would join India in the final four from Group 2.
It seals a remarkable turnaround for Babar Azam’s side, who lost their opening two Super 12 games.
A key feature of that turnaround, which came after defeats by India and Zimbabwe, has been a return to form and full fitness for left-arm pace bowler Shaheen Afridi, who impressed at the death, finishing with 4-22.
There are still concerns for Pakistan though, with their usually dynamic opening partnership struggling for fluency.
Babar again looked rusty in his 33-ball 25, while opening partner Mohammad Rizwan, who made 32, was dropped by wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan before scoring.
Pakistan captain Babar said: “We enjoyed the (Netherlands) win. But we are sticking together now. We will get together and discuss our mistakes but also positive things.”
India topped Group 2 and face England in Adelaide on Thursday, while Pakistan will play New Zealand in Sydney on Wednesday.
After the Netherlands’ shock victory, both teams knew a win would see them progress, having gone into the day knowing they needed the Proteas or India to lose to stand any chance of going through.
It led to some early-over nerves from both sides, but Bangladesh settled and laid a nice platform at 73-1 after 10 overs.
However, the wickets in the 11th over of Soumya Sarkar and Shakib Al Hasan, who was controversially given out lbw despite appearing to get an inside edge, opened the game up for Pakistan.
That gave them belief and they bowled superbly in the back 10, squeezing Bangladesh. Their fielding and catching was faultless from there, resulting in them restricting the Tigers to 127-8.
The chase was odd. There was a lack of conviction from Babar and Rizwan and against better opposition their batting may well come unstuck.
The pair did battle to 57-0, but both fell in quick succession to leave Bangladesh a route back into the game at 61-2.
A scenario of 59 needed off 48 balls was threatening to look difficult, especially on a slow pitch on which it was difficult to score freely, but Haris hit two leg-side sixes to break the back of the chase.
He was dismissed with seven still required, but Shan Masood showed a calm head to get Pakistan over the line, and finish unbeaten on 24 from 14 balls.
Bangladesh captain Shakib said: “Of course at the halfway stage we wanted to get somewhere around 145 – that would’ve been more reasonable.
“This is the best performance we had in a T20 World Cup.
“We could’ve done better but having said that this is the least we could expect.” — BBC Sport.