Wade lifts Australia into T20 World Cup final over Pakistan
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Matthew Wade smacked three successive sixes off Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi in the penultimate over and lifted Australia into the final of the T20 World Cup with a five-wicket victory Thursday.
Wade crashed Pakistan hopes in a stunning display of power-hitting against a premier T20 fast bowler as Australia cruised to 177-5 with an over to spare.
Pakistan reached the semifinals on the back of five successive wins in the group games and had stretched their win streak in the United Arab Emirates to 16 matches over five years.
But Hasan Ali dropped a regulation catch of the left-hander Wade at mid-wicket before Afridi was hit for three sixes with two of those scooping over the short fine leg.
Hasan also went for 27 runs off his last two overs against Wade and Marcus Stoinis and returned with the expensive figures of 0-44.
Wade made an unbeaten 41 off just 17 balls and Stoinis supported him superbly with 40 off 31 balls as both batsmen shared a match-winning 81-run partnership off just 40 balls.
Earlier, half centuries by in-form Mohammad Rizwan (67) and Fakhar Zaman (55 not out) helped Pakistan reach 176-4 after Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to field.
“Probably hasn’t sunk in, I’ve just finished batting,” Wade said. “When I got out there with Marcus, he was really confident we’d get them, even though I was a little unsure. … It got down to two a ball, and from there it was if you got one in your arc, just try to hit it.”
Leg-spinner Shadab Khan (4-26) had Australia’s back against the walls at 96-5 in the 14th over before Stoinis and Wade’s onslaught against the fast bowlers took the game away from Pakistan in the death overs.
“If we had taken that (Hasan Ali) catch, it might have made the difference,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said. “I hope we try and learn from our mistakes after this. We’ve played so well in the tournament, we’ll gain confidence, and we’ll continue to try and play this way.”
Shadab had the wickets of Mitchell Marsh (28), Steve Smith (5) and Glenn Maxwell (7), but his most prized wicket came in controversial circumstances when David Warner didn’t go for a television referral.
Warner made 49 off 30 balls and had the chase under control but didn’t review a caught behind decision as the television replays suggested he didn’t edge the ball to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.
Earlier, Rizwan became the first batter in the world to score 1,000 runs in Twenty20s in a calendar year, but not before he twice got dropped.
Warner dropped a tough chance while running backward from mid-off before Rizwan had scored and Zampa missed a difficult low catch in the deep.
Those letoffs allowed Rizwan to share two solid stands -- adding 71 runs with Babar (39) and then 72 with Zaman, who provided a perfect finish by hammering two sixes to Mitchell Starc. However, Zaman was also lucky to get a life when Smith dropped him on 40 before the left-hander added vital runs in the last over.
Australia will take on New Zealand in the final on Sunday at Dubai after the Black Caps defeated England in the first semifinal — also by five wickets — on Wednesday.
The toss could again prove vital in the final as 11 out of 12 games in the tournament has been won by the teams chasing the targets in Dubai.
New Zealand will be without wicketkeeper-batsman Devon Conway in the final. South Africa-born Conway suffered a broken hand when he struck his bat in disappointment at his dismissal in the semifinal.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead said Conway is “gutted” to have been injured in such a way.
“I think he’s certainly remorseful around it,” Stead said. “It’s an honest mistake that he’s made and he knows in a way it’s an impact it’s having on our team as well.
“He was pretty devastated when he came back with the news.”
Tim Seifert is likely to play in Conway’s place.
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