Srinagar: Pakistan defied all odds and proved every theory wrong as they cruised their way into the semifinal of the T20 World Cup 2022. After given lifeline by Netherlands, Pakistan made sure to sure to beat Bangladesh to cement place in semifinal in Adelaide on Sunday.
At the start of the day Pakistan needed plenty to go right just to be in contention for a semi-final berth and Babar Azam’s side had everything go exactly how they wanted as they clinched what looked to be an unlikely spot in the final four.
The Netherlands’ stunning victory over South Africa earlier in the day left Pakistan’s match against Bangladesh as a virtual quarter-final and the contest between the two Asian sides kept everyone on the edge of their seat right until the gripping climax.
Shaheen Afridi looked back to his brilliant best with impressive figures of 4/22 at Adelaide Oval as Bangladesh could manage just 127/8 in good batting conditions and Pakistan found the victory target with two overs remaining despite a few wobbles in reply.
Babar (25) and Mohammad Rizwan (32) are arguably the best opening pair in T20I cricket, but up until Sunday’s match neither player had done much at the T20 World Cup.
The pair had put on 57 for the opening wicket and it looked like they were going to propel Pakistan to an easy victory, until both were removed in quick succession as Bangladesh found a glimmer of hope.
That hope was built upon when Litton Das threw down the stumps of Mohammad Nawaz to send the Pakistan all-rounder packing as nerves began to set in for Babar’s talented side.
But that was as good as it got as Bangladesh’s campaign came to an end and Pakistan’s continued on to the knockout stages in the semi-finals.
Shakib was a frustrated man during much of Sunday’s clash and it all began when he was given out LBW for a golden duck as Bangladesh’s strong start inside their batting Powerplay was suddenly halted.
The experienced Bangladesh leader was given out LBW first ball by South Africa umpire Adrian Holdstock and he immediately sent the decision to be reviewed as he was convinced he had edged the ball onto his pad.
Shakib’s frustration grew when the TV umpire confirmed the onfield decision and it was further confounded during Pakistan’s innings when he wasn’t allowed to review an LBW decision against Nawaz due to the time having elapsed.
It wasn’t meant to be for Shakib or for Bangladesh, but the Asian team can hold their heads high for the way they have performed at the tournament.