T20 World Cup: Pakistan gear up for semi finals with comfortable win over Scotland

Victory by 72 runs in Sharjah perfect preparation for showdown with Australia

Given all the emotion they expended in the opening throes of the T20 World Cup, Pakistan must be grateful for a couple of easy nights as preparation for the business end of the competition.

Their 72-run win over Scotland in the final Super 12 match at Sharjah Cricket Stadium was scarcely more taxing than a centre-wicket practice.

There was none of the drama or noise of the wins over India, New Zealand and Afghanistan from earlier in the tournament, but there did not need to be.

Ahead of their semi-final meeting with Australia in Dubai on Thursday, Babar Azam’s side are still purring.

The tried and trusted performers had satisfying nights out. Captain Babar posted his fourth half-century in the space of five innings, as he top scored with 66.

Mohammed Rizwan was short of his best, but still stayed around long enough to claim the record for the most T20 international runs in a calendar year – beating a previous best set by Chris Gayle in the process.

He was not the only record-breaker in the Pakistan batting line up. Shoaib Malik had been one of the Pakistan batters who had been light on significant crease-time until this point.

It did not show, as he laced the fastest ever T20I half-century by a Pakistan player. The Dubai resident went to 50 with a towering six off Chris Greaves from the 18th ball he faced – thus equalling KL Rahul’s tournament-fastest half-century.

Malik’s assault was brutal. Greaves must have felt like he was about to exit his breakthrough tournament with minimal damage done, only for his final over – the 20th of the Pakistan innings – to cost him 26. It meant he ended with 2-43 from his four overs.

His opposing leg-spinner, Shadab Khan, was immaculate in reply as he took 2-14 in defence of the 189-4 Pakistan had made. The 19 overs he has sent down in the competition have come at an economy rate of 5.89.

The manner of the defeat provided a tepid conclusion to a tournament which had started so well for the Scots. Their opening night shock of Bangladesh in Oman promised so much.

It did lead to qualification to the main competition. That means they will advance straight to the 2022 event in Australia without the need to pre-qualify.

Having made it to the UAE for the Super 12, though, Kyle Coetzer’s side will be disappointed not to have added another significant scalp to go with that of Bangladesh.

At least Richie Berrington provided some resistance, and in making 54 not out became just the second player in the tournament – after Virat Kohli – to make a half-century against Pakistan.

Updated: November 8th 2021, 5:45 AM