Pakistan keep T20 World Cup dream alive with win over Bangladesh on Super Sunday

Afridi and Masood ensure their side make the most of reprieve after Netherlands shock South Africa

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Pakistan will play in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup after a stunning Sunday in Adelaide.

Babar Azam's side won what was effectively a quarter-final against Bangladesh by five wickets, to keep alive the chances of taking the title.

When they woke up on the morning of the game, neither side would have expected to still be in contention by the time they travelled to the ground.

Their continued participation was, after all, reliant on the Netherlands beating South Africa in the opening game of the day. But this is the T20 World Cup of 2022. They really should have expected an upset.

Accepted wisdom would suggest a 13-run win by the Dutch over a South Africa side who had made such a formidable start to this competition was a shock.

And yet the Associate side, who had themselves been reliant on a favour from the UAE two weeks ago to make it through to the Super 12, were good value for their victory.

On commentary, Ian Smith termed it “one of the biggest upsets in world sport in a long time”. And yet it is questionable whether it is even the biggest of this competition.

What it did was render the subsequent match a knock-out tie: the winners would advance to the semi-finals, with South Africa crashing out.

From that point on, it was always going to be fraught with nerves. Shakib Al Hasan won the toss. He did not even need to say what he was going to do before Danny Morrison, conducting the toss interviews for TV, suggested he was going to bat.

On a worn wicket, it made sense to have first use. And initially, Bangladesh thrived. Just after the drinks break, they were 73 for one.

What followed was the seminal moment of the game. First, Soumya Sarkar reverse swept Shadab Khan to point. Then, off the next ball, Shakib was deemed lbw.

Immediately, Bangladesh’s captain reviewed it. The decision was upheld, even though Shakib – as well as a sizeable chunk of other onlookers – felt it showed he had inside edged the ball on his advance down the wicket.

Shakib needed to be encouraged to leave the wicket by Joel Wilson, the umpire.

Bangladesh appeared shellshocked by the decision, and Pakistan’s bowlers pounced on their opportunity.

Shaheen Afridi showed his best work of the tournament so far, as he took four wickets, as Bangladesh were limited to 127 for eight from their 20 overs.

The reply was far from easy. Taskin Ahmed was imperious with the new ball, just as he had been against India last time out.

Again, he was entirely deprived of fortune, with his colleagues seemingly averse to taking catches off his bowling.

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan put on 57 for the first wicket. It was not exactly in the dapper fashion usually expected from that dynamic duo, but it made a decent dent in the target.

Nerves were constantly frayed. Mohammed Haris played another thrilling cameo, worth 31 from 18 balls, but went before the job was done.

In the end, it was Shan Masood who provided the cool head when it was required, clipping the two runs required to seal a famous win.

Updated: November 06, 2022, 7:58 AM
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