In another tense Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final, Australia came back from a five-wicket deficit to defeat Pakistan by five wickets.
With 20 needed off the final ten balls, Matthew Wade was dropped by Hassan Ali before hitting the next three deliveries for six to complete a stunning 177-run chase in Dubai.
Prior to Wade and Marcus Stoinis’ grandstand finish, Australia was struggling at 96-5, despite a belligerent 49 from David Warner
Wade smashed an unbeaten 41 off 17 balls, while Stoinis finished 40 not out off 31 balls, their remarkable 81-run stand carrying Australia home with an over to spare and deafening a largely Pakistan-supporting crowd
It was the second thrilling finish in 24 hours, following New Zealand’s dramatic semi-final victory over England on Wednesday.
Australia and New Zealand, who have never won the T20 World Cup, will meet in the final on Sunday at 14:00 GMT in Dubai. Australia waits too long to seal a historic victory.
Pakistan were favorites, with Australia needing 62 runs in the final five overs and 37 runs in the final three.
Wade hit Hassan for six to give Australia renewed hope, before tearing apart Pakistan’s premier pace bowler Shaheen Afridi in an over that will live long in the memory of Australia fans, albeit after Hassan put down a difficult chance on the move at deep mid-wicket with Wade on 21.
Wade hits a full-length ball from middle stump over fine leg for six runs in 18.4 overs.
18.5 overs: Shaheen pulls his length back slightly, and Wade hoists him into the deep mid-wicket stand.
Wade gets into position early and ramps a straight full toss over the wicketkeeper’s head in 18.6 overs.
“At no point did I think the game was over,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said.
“Matthew Wade’s ability to hold his nerve at the end was incredible. The collaboration with Marcus Stoinis was critical.
It was a fantastic cricket match.” From ‘written off’ to World Cup champions
Few expected Australia to reach the final despite having lost their previous five T20 series and being bowled out for 62 by Bangladesh in August.
They lost Finch for a duck in the first over, lost Mitchell Marsh and Steve Smith to Shadab Khan, and luck seemed to be on their side when Warner was given out caught behind despite replays showing he did not edge the ball.
Stoinis overcame his struggles against spin to defeat leg-spinner Shadab, who finished with 4-26, and he and Wade were content to take quick singles until late in the game when they were able to free their arms.
They were aided by a subpar Pakistan.
Hassan had a terrible day with the ball, finishing with 0-44 from four overs, but it was his drop to save Wade that turned the game.
It was a stunning victory for an Australia team that had been written off before the tournament, according to Finch.
After two nights in intensive care, Rizwan shines.
Pakistan’s 176-4 was built around Mohammad Rizwan’s 52-ball 67 and Fakhar Zaman’s late flurry of 55 off 32 deliveries.
Rizwan’s performance was all the more impressive given that he spent two nights in intensive care with a “severe” chest infection.
“He made an incredible recovery and was declared fit before the match,” said team doctor Najeeb Somroo.
“We can see his great determination and tenacity, which demonstrates his spirit of service to his country. And we can see how he did today.”
Rizwan started shakily and was dropped on nought by Warner and on 20 by Adam Zampa.
A blow to his helmet’s grille seemed to spark his inning.
Rizwan swung his first six after receiving physio treatment and with a visible mark on his face before moving on to his third half-century of the tournament.
He capitalized on Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins’ miscues, the highlight being a whip-over long-on off the former.
Fakhar provided the late impetus with two sixes off the final three balls of the innings after Rizwan miscued Mitchell Starc to mid-off.
Until Wade intervened, it appeared as if their contributions had propelled Pakistan to a winning total.