Australia will face New Zealand in the final of the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday after coming back from the brink to defeat Pakistan by five wickets on Thursday.
Chasing 177, Australia was given a big blow in the first over when Shaheen Afridi trapped Aaron Finch lbw. After playing out three tight opening overs, David Warner unleashed against Imad Wasim, whacking the spinner for six and two fours in a 17-run over.
Mitchell Marsh thumped a maximum and three fours to take Australia to 52/1 at the end of the powerplay. But Marsh soon perished, trying to attack Shadab Khan, who also got the better of Steve Smith. Between those two wickets, though, Warner slogged two more sixes, keeping the required rate under 9 with half of the innings to go. Warner, however, lost his wicket to Shadab, just one short of his fifty.
Shadab capped off his superb spell with the big wicket of Glenn Maxwell, caught at deep point off a mishit reverse-sweep. Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade kept Australia alive with plenty of powerful hits bringing down to 22 runs needed off the last two overs.
Pakistan missed a golden opportunity when Hasan Ali dropped a regulation catch off Matthew Wade at mid-wicket when Australia needed 20 runs from 10 balls.
Wade then went on to smack three successive sixes off Shaheen Afridi in the penultimate over to power Australia to a winning total of 177/5 with an over to spare. The partnership between Stoinis and Wade yielded 81 runs off 41 balls.
Earlier, after being put in to bat first, Pakistan were off to a flyer from openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam. The pair put up 47 runs in the powerplay; Babar scored 24 runs and Rizwan 21, both off 18 balls each. Babar stroked 4 classy boundaries while Rizwan smashed Pakistan’s first six of the innings.
The partnership grew at run-a-ball for the next four overs and was broken by Adam Zampa, when Babar (39 off 34) holed out at long-on.
Rizwan, though, attacked Zampa for a slog over deep mid-wicket before slamming Josh Hazlewood over the same area. Fakhar Zaman got going with a couple of boundaries. Rizwan, who raised his fifty off 41 balls, and Zaman then clobbered a six each to Hazlewood taking the lanky pacer for a 21-run over.
Mitchell Starc got rid of Rizwan for 67 off 52 balls but was smoked for a six and four by Zaman. Cummins dismissed the dangerous Asif Ali for a duck, caught at long-on, while Starc castled Shoaib Malik. However, Zaman tonked Starc for two massive sixes to reach his half-century off 31 balls as Pakistan put up 176.
Australia ended Pakistan’s 100 percent record in the tournament to guarantee a first-time winner will be crowned on Sunday.