UAE. Dubai: Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis led Australia to a thrilling five-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second semi-final of the Men’s T20 World Cup tournament at Dubai International Stadium. With this spectacular late hitting against Pakistan by Mathew Wade and Marcus Stoinis, Australia will face New Zealand on Sunday for the final of the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
How it all happened
Pakistan set a challenging target after fifties from Mohammad Rizwan (67 off 52) and Fakhar Zaman (55 off 32) and contribution from Babar Azam (39 off 34) also helped to score 176-4.
Rizwan and Babar started the innings with great scoring shots. They scored 47 runs in the power play. After departure of the Pakistani captain on 39, Fakhar Zaman came to the crease. His partnership with Rizwan gave the Pakistani score a needed boost. Fakhar’s massive four sixes pushed the scoring rate much higher. Pakistan finished their innings on 177 for 5. Maxwell proved crucial for Australia as he went for just 20 from three overs.
Australian innings started with a disastrous note when Shaheen Shah Afridi removed Aaron Finch lbw in his first over with a brilliant inswinger and Mitchell Marsh (28 off 22) nearly suffered the same fate as he top-edged an attempted slog-sweep off the leg spinner Shadab Khan’s second ball of his first over. Shadab Khan removed Steve Smith for five before claiming successive wickets of David Warner (49 off 30) and Glenn Maxwell, reducing Australia to 95-5. Warner was unlucky to be given out as the replay showed he didn’t nick the ball. His reluctance to take DRS caught many to surprise. Australia was in all spots of bother.
In this difficult time, Stoinis and Wade began the run chase. Stoinis stroke two sixes before he and Matthew Wade posted a 50-run stand off 32 deliveries. With 20 needed off 10 balls, Hasan Ali dropped Wade at deep midwicket. In a very similar fashion when Michael Hussey hit six sixes in his 24-ball 60 in the West Indies against the same opponent in 2010, batter Matthew Wade got three sixes in a row off Shaheen Shah Afridi to seal a stunning victory with a spectacular stand of 81 off 6.4 overs.
The Stonis-Wade cricket machine
It’s here where the incredible sportsmanship between two players, who have been attentive to each other’s game throughout the years, turned into achievable numbers. Australia won with the daredevilry and coordination between batters Wade and Stoinis: Stoinis finished undefeated with 40 and Wade made 41 of just 17 deliveries.
“Not at any stage did I think the game was in the bag,” said Australia captain Aaron Finch, and added “The way that Matthew Wade held his nerve at the end was unbelievable. The partnership with Marcus Stoinis was crucial. It was a great game of cricket.“
Asked about how the pair have become such good finishers, Wade explained: “It’s confidence… The reason that he and I worked well towards the back end is that we know each other’s game so much.”
Post-match press conferences
Despite having spent two nights at ICU with a severe chest infection, Mohammad Rizwan showed a remarkable self-adjustment and power of will when Pakistan took to bat.
Asif Ali, who averaged to hit a six in every three balls in this tournament, scored a golden duck. Yet, the match was not lost because of him. Pakistan lost as they scored just 71 in the first 10 overs. Pakistan were short of 15 – 20 runs on the pitch that looked perfect for batting.
Hassan Ali endured a dreadful day with the ball as he finished with 0-44 from four overs. His nightmare continued when he dropped Wade at the deep midwicket. That could have been the match-winning moment for Pakistan.
Mitchell Starc (2/38) was the most successful bowler for Australia.
“Toss is boss in T20 world cup” Conspiracy
Conspiracists say that while each one of the venues has brought a different aspect to the game, here it is evident that Dubai’s venue has something special. In nine out of the 10 matches of the T20 World Cup, the team who wins the toss won the game: Australia, England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Africa, Namibia, and Australia again have won their matches after winning the toss.
Pakistan: 176/4 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 67, Fakhar Zaman 55, Mitchell Starc 2/38)
Australia: 177/5 in 19 overs (David Warner 49, Matthew Wade 41, Shadab Khan 4/26)
This was a second thrilling finale in 24 hours after New Zealand’s dramatic victory over England in Wednesday’s semi-final in Abu Dhabi. The hope for Australia now is that Wade and Stonis will help the team win the 2021 cup and end their wait for the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup crown.
This will probably be more so as it was just announced that “New Zealand wicketkeeper-batter Devon Conway has been ruled out of the Final of the World Cup as well as the subsequent tour of India due to a broken hand.“