Matthew Wade smashed Shaheen Shah Afridi for a hat-trick of sixes to power Australia to the final of the 2021 T20 World Cup with a 5-wicket win over Pakistan on Thursday at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Australia needed 22 runs from the last two overs and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam went with his best bowler of the tournament Shaheen Afridi to bowl the penultimate over. Wade hit the left-arm seamer for back-to-back sixes on the last three balls of the over to seal the game for Australia.
Wade shared a crucial 81*-run stand for the sixth wicket Marcus Stoinis to shift the momentum in Australia’s favour. Stoinis, who played the aggressor in the partnership, witnessed some brutal power-hitting from Wade from the other end in the penultimate over. Wade remained unbeaten on 41 off just 17 balls as his innings was laced with four sixes and a couple of fours. While, Stonis scored 40* off 31 balls.
Chasing a formidable target of 177, Australia lost their skipper Aaron Finch early as Shaheen dismissed him on the second ball of the chase for a golden duck. Pakistan put pressure on the Aussie batters for the first three overs but David Warner took charge of the innings by smashing Imad Wasim for a six and a couple of boundaries. Chasing a formidable target of 177, Australia lost their skipper Aaron Finch early as Shaheen dismissed him on the second ball of the chase for a golden duck. Pakistan put pressure on the Aussie batters for the first three overs but David Warner took charge of the innings by smashing Imad Wasim for a six and a couple of boundaries.
“Absolutely (preempted the scoops). I was talking to Stoinis at the other end and tried to work out what they’re doing. I got a little more pace on than expected, I probably could have used it a little bit earlier, but yeah.. glad to get a couple at the end. There wasn’t a lot of chat before I went in as we lost quick wickets. But when I got out there, Me and Marcus had batted together in the first game and got some momentum today as well,” he said in the post match PC.
Wade and Marcus Stoinis must be credited for Aussie revival after they had lost their two best players in Steve Smith and David Warner in face of some sharp spin bowling of Shadab Khan. “I was a bit unsure but Marcus showed me the way out. There was one short side and I was confident that if I had to target that then I could pull it off, but it got down to two-a-ball and you had to hit everything in your arc. I got a boundary away early on and then stalled for 5-6 balls, but Marcus got the boundary away and got us to a total where I was confident in the last two overs.”
Warner shared a crucial 51-run stand alongside Mitchell Marsh to revive the chase for Australia. However, Shadab Khan spun his web in the middle-overs to wrap Australia’s middle-order cheaply. The Aussies were 96/5 at one stage and the momentum was completely in Pakistan’s favour but Wade and Stoinis changed the script to guide Australia to their second final of the T20 World Cup. Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman hit attacking half-centuries to drive Pakistan to 176 for four against Australia in the second semi-final.
Rizwan, who top-scored with 67, and Zaman, who hit an unbeaten 55 off 32 deliveries, put on 72 runs for the second wicket to help Pakistan to a challenging total after being into bat first in Dubai. Rizwan’s opening stand of 71 with skipper Babar Azam, who made 39, unsettled the Australian bowling in the first six overs of powerplay. Australia will now face New Zealand in the summit clash of the T20 World Cup final where the new champion will be crowned on November 14 in Dubai.