Pakistan cruise to victory against Namibia and storm into T20 World Cup semi-finals

Century stand between Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan sets up 45-run victory in Abu Dhabi

Finally for Pakistan, a quiet day at the office. A straightforward 45-run win in Abu Dhabi, maintaining their 100 per cent record in the T20 World Cup in the process, and on they go.

Pakistan rarely do routine. Given the blistering start they made to this tournament last week, there must have been supporters who feared the worst with matches coming up against teams they really should beat in their sleep.

But against Namibia, the lowest-ranked side in the competition, there was little drama and little stress.

Babar Azam’s side will have been happy to finally get through a match without spilling any undue emotion.

Their three previous wins to this point had all been glorious triumphs that will live long in the memories of players and fans alike.

The win over India in Dubai felt like it could have been era-defining. New Zealand, next up in Sharjah, brought with it unprecedented antagonism, given they had unceremoniously withdrawn from a tour of Pakistan recently. And the Afghanistan game was fraught both inside and outside Dubai International Stadium.

But Pakistan have designs on winning this tournament. To go through every game playing at that level of intensity would have left them mentally fried come finals time. This win over Namibia was just what was required.

Just as England had done in beating Sri Lanka in Sharjah the night before, Pakistan showed poise despite a tricky start while batting first at Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Ruben Trumpelmann sent down a maiden with the first over of the game, and it took Pakistan nine balls to get off the mark. By the end of their six-over Powerplay, they were on a measly 29 for no loss.

Babar and Mohammed Rizwan might have been getting frustrated, but they did not let it show. They stayed together for a first-wicket alliance worth 113. It made them the first duo to share five century stands in T20 internationals.

Babar was the first of them to depart, but not before he had made his third half century in four matches. The captain’s innings of 70 off 49 balls was typically classy.

At the other end, Rizwan struggled to regain his fluency from the opening night against India, yet he battled through.

In his first 40 balls, he made a scratchy 44 runs. It was just a process he had to go through. Like his fellow star wicketkeeper batter Jos Buttler a day earlier, he found his range when it was required, though.

Off the last 10 balls of his innings, Rizwan hit 35 – included sending all but one ball of the final over from Trumpelmann to the boundary – as he ended on 79 not out off.

Pakistan’s final tally of 189-2 was always likely to be beyond the Namibians. So it proved, but Pakistan’s bowlers – who had been irrepressible against some of the most vaunted batting line ups in the competition so far – did not have things all their own way.

David Wiese wore a ferocious bouncer from Haris Rauf on his helmet. He bounced back to his the next ball from his Lahore Qalandars teammate for a crisp straight six.

Stephan Baard had earlier whipped the fast bowler onto the mound at backward square leg for six.

Wiese top scored as he finished on 43 not out, out of Namibia’s total of 144-5. Earlier, Craig Williams had made 40.

While Imad Wasim was arguably the pick of the Pakistan bowlers, with a thrifty 1-13 from three overs of left-arm spin, it was perhaps Hasan Ali who got the most from the night.

His figures of 1-22 from four overs provided some respite after his leakiness earlier in the tournament.

Updated: November 3rd 2021, 10:16 AM
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