Pakistan in T20 WC final after 7-wicket win over NZ

Sydney, Nov 9:

A rejuvenated Pakistan lifted their game when it mattered the most and stormed into the T20 World Cup final with a convincing seven-wicket win over New Zealand here today.
Pakistan first restricted New Zealand to 152 for four on a slow SCG track and then chased down the target with consummate ease, riding on skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan’s attacking fifties to book their place in the final after 13 years.
This will be Pakistan’s third appearance in the T20 World Cup final. They had finished runners-up to India in the inaugural edition in 2007 before claiming the title two years later.
The win over New Zealand, last edition’s runners-up side, also kept the prospect of a mouth-watering India-Pakistan final in Melbourne on Sunday alive, provided Rohit Sharma’s men beat England in the second semifinal in Adelaide on Thursday.
Chasing 153, Babar rode on his luck to register his highest score in the tournament — 53 off 42 balls — while Rizwan made 57 off 43 deliveries as Pakistan romped home with five balls to spare.
Babar and Rizwan got Pakistan off to a blazing start, going hammer and tongs against the Kiwi bowlers. Unlike New Zealand, the Pakistani openers looked at ease with the pace of the surface.
Known for their brilliant fielding, the Kiwis looked a different side on Wednesday as they struggled on the field.
Babar’s innings, however, was far from convincing as he struggled initially. He got a life when at nought when he pushed at an away-going delivery from Trent Boult in the opening over but Devon Conway grassed the one-handed chance.
Babar grabbed the opportunity with both hands and slowly got his game together, while Rizwan went ballistic from the word go.
The duo didn’t the give the likes of Boult, Tim Southee and Lockie Fergusson the chance to settle down, racing to 55 for no loss in powerplay.
Once the spin duo of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi were introduced, Rizwan used the sweep shot well, while Babar was brilliant square off the wicket.
New Zealand finally got the breakthrough in the 13th over when Babar was holed out by Daryll Mitchell at long-on off Boult but by then Pakistan were comfortably placed at 105.( PTI)