ISLAMABAD: Clinical Pakistan thrashed New Zealand by seven wickets on Wednesday to qualify for the final of the T20 World Cup 2022, courtesy of a captain’s knock by skipper Babar Azam and a valuable half-century by Muhammad Rizwan.
Set a target of 153 runs to win, Pakistan thrashed the Kiwi bowlers and took full advantage of the Powerplay overs. Azam and Rizwan found their form, with the former scoring 53 runs from 42 balls while the latter made 57 off 46 deliveries.
Mohammad Haris made an impressive 30 runs from 26 balls. He was dismissed by Santner when Pakistan needed 2 runs to win, with Shan Masood finishing the match for Pakistan.
Pakistan will face either India or England in the final of the World Cup, depending on the outcome of the second semifinal.
The green shirts were headed for an early exit from the tournament till last Sunday before the Netherlands pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the tournament, beat South Africa and paved the way for Pakistan to qualify after beating Bangladesh.
Pakistan have a stellar record against New Zealand in knockout stages of ICC tournaments. In 1992, the green shirts, led by Imran Khan, defeated New Zealand by four wickets. Seven years later, in 1999, a Wasim Akram-led squad defeated New Zealand again in the semifinal of the 50-over World Cup.
In the 2007 T20 World Cup semifinal, Pakistan again beat the Black Caps to qualify for the final. There, they lost to India in a thriller.
The final will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), over 30 years after Imran Khan lifted the trophy for the green shirts during the final of the 1992 World Cup.
Earlier, Pakistani bowlers bowled intelligently to restrict the Kiwis to 152/4 from their 20 overs. Shaheen Shah Afridi finished with figures of 2/24, while Nawaz picked up a wicket and finished with 1/12 from his two overs.
New Zealand won the toss and put Pakistan to field.