Australia breaks Pakistan’s winning streak and storms into the 2021 T20 World Cup final

PUMA Devdutt Padikkal

With a thrilling five-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second semi-final in Dubai on Thursday, Australia secured their place in the T20 World Cup 2021 final.

In a contest that followed the same pattern as the first semi-final between New Zealand and England, Australia needed 50 runs in the final four overs. However, Australia was led to victory by Matthew Wade (41* off 17) and Marcus Stoinis (40* off 31). Wade smashed Shaheen Shah Afridi for three consecutive sixes to help his team win by an over.

Pakistan was given the opportunity to bat first after Australia won the toss. On the other hand, the Men in Green were up to the task, having played a few games in the Super 12. In the powerplay, Babar Azam took the lead, with Mohammad Rizwan trailing behind. The duo, on the other hand, made sure to go through the opening six overs unharmed.

When Aaron Finch introduced Glenn Maxwell into the attack in the third over, he blew it, and Pakistan realized they had a problem with their fifth bowler. Babar led the offensive to Australia, but once the field was established, the screws were tightened. Babar and Rizwan added 71 runs for the first wicket, although it took them 10 overs.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa bowled a terrific over and eventually got his number, which perplexed Pakistan's captain. Pakistan was under pressure to up the ante, which is when Rizwan stepped in. The wicketkeeper-batsman smashed several critical boundaries in yet another great partnership, scoring 72 runs in just 7.2 overs. Fakhar Zaman provided excellent support for Rizwan, who maintained his perfect form by hitting 67 runs off 52 balls.

Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik were also out quickly, but Fakhar Zaman, who returned to form just in time for Pakistan, gave the innings real momentum. He pounded Australia's bowlers in the death overs, particularly Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, who ripped apart for many runs in the last three overs.

Pakistan finished strongly at 176/4 in their 20 overs, with Fakhar remaining unbeaten on 55 off 32 balls with three fours and four sixes.

When a spot in the final is on the line, a 177-yard race is undoubtedly exciting. Shaheen Afridi, a left-arm seam bowler, lit up the stadium with his high-class bowling. He pinned Aaron Finch in front of the stumps for a golden duck dismissal and then caught Mitchell Marsh off guard with a yorker, only for the umpire to dismiss the lbw appeal. Following that, a review was conducted, and Chris Gaffaney made an excellent judgment.

Australia barely made it through his first few overs when David Warner faced Imad Wasim, his favourite T20 bowler. Mitchell Marsh found his striking zone as well, and Australia was off and running. They reached 50 runs in the first six overs, and Warner's leadership kept the chase on track.

Shadab Khan, on the other hand, has yet to have his greatest day of the tournament, and he selected a large stage for it. The leg-spinner made the Australian batsmen make mistakes, picking up four wickets in the process. Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith were the first to go, followed by a strange ejection of Warner, who was caught behind. It appeared to be out in real-time, but the ultra-edge didn't show any spike, and the batter, to everyone's surprise, walked off.

Shadab concluded with miraculous numbers of 4/26, the best for any bowler in all T20 World Cup semi-finals. Glenn Maxwell followed soon after. It appeared all Pakistan at 96/5 in the 13th over, but Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade were out in the middle with a job on their hands.

The duo first weathered the storm under immense pressure before deciding to take matters into their own hands when the equation came down to 63 runs off the last five overs. Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf were taken for runs in the next three overs, resulting in 40 runs. When Shaheen Afridi was given the task of bowling the most vital overs, Australia needed 22 runs in their final two overs.

The seamer got off to a good start in the over, but Hasan Ali dropped Wade in the deep, which wounded Pakistan. The left-hander snatched one off the very next ball for a six, then followed it up with two more consecutive maximums to lead his team to victory in a nail-biter of a match.