Australia thrash Pakistan to reach ICC T20 World Cup 2021 final

Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade added 81 runs unbeaten to take Australia into the final

The ICC T20 World Cup 2021 favourites Pakistan crashed out with a five-wicket defeat against Australia in the semi-final played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday night. 

Pakistan, who had won every single match before this contest against Australia, produced an inspired performance both with the bat and the ball but they were not good enough when pressure was firmly up on them. Shaheen Shah Afridi was smacked for plenty of runs whereas Hasan Ali dropped a catch off Matthew Wade, which will go down in the history as one of the costliest drops. 

Wade, after getting the lifeline, smacked three consecutive sixes in the penultimate over from Afridi to hand Australia a victory after they were left with a huge task of scoring 62 runs in the final five overs with five wickets in hand. 

Wade finished at 41 not out from 17 balls with four sixes and two boundaries, adding 81 runs from 41 balls for the sixth wicket with Marcus Stoinis, who made 40 out out from 31 balls with a couple of sixes and as many boundaries.

It was Australia who won the toss and invited Pakistan to bat first. The famed Pakistani opening pair of Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam once again provided their side with a strong start, adding 71 runs in the first 10 overs. But Australia bounced back to restrict Pakistan to a total of 176/4 despite Rizwan making a splendid 67 from 52 balls with four sixes and three boundaries, while Fakhar Zaman scoring 55 not out from 32 balls with four sixes and three boundaries.

Pakistan captain Babar was somehow guilty of biting slowly on a pitch where a total of 180 might not have been safe. Babar scored 39 from 34 balls with five boundaries at the top. 

For Australia, while Mitchell Starc (2/38), Pat Cummins (1/30) and Josh Hazlewood were disappointing, leg-spinner Adam Zampa returned with an impressive 4-0-22-1. Hazlewood ended up giving away the costliest spell by any bowler in a semi-final contest of a T20 World Cup match of 4-0-49-0. 

In their reply, Australia were rocked early on when Afridi trapped Aaron Finch leg before on the first ball that the opposition captain played. David Warner and Mitchell Marsh teamed up to take Australia ahead, adding 51 runs for the second wicket. Warner waged a lone battle in the middle stages as he made 49 from 30 balls with three sixes and as many boundaries. The left-handed Australian opening batsman should have scored more given that he was declared caught behind off Shadab Khan when the ball did not hit his bat. 

Steve Smith disappointed as he was dismissed for five and Glenn Maxwell also failed to make any mark, falling for 7. Both these key batsmen were removed by Shadab and it looked like Pakistan would stroll to a victory and to their third final in the history of the tournament. Shadab was the best bowler as he produced a spell of 4-0-26-4. 

The pair of Stoinis and Wade got together when Australia were significantly behind the target, requiring another 80 runs to win from a little over seven overs. Wade finished the game in the 19th over with three consecutive sixes to win the contest for his side and set up a clash in the final with New Zealand, who had earlier beaten England to make the summit clash. The final will be played on Sunday.