Pakistan’s star opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan on Wednesday became the first-ever duo to have three-century stands in the history of the ICC T20 World Cup. The duo accomplished this landmark during their side’s first semifinal match against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). In the match, Azam and Rizwan put on a stand of 105 runs in 76 balls. This stand proved to be extremely instrumental in Pakistan’s easy seven-wicket win.
Both of them managed to score half-centuries, with Azam scoring 53 and Rizwan scoring 57. They managed to find form at the right time. Before this semifinal, both Azam and Rizwan struggled for runs in the tournament. Azam had scored 39 runs in five innings while Rizwan had also managed only 103 runs in five innings prior to this semifinal match.
Before this, Azam and Rizwan had recorded their previous two-century stands in tournament’s history in 2021. Their first one was an unbeaten 152-run stand, which handed their arch-rivals India a humiliating loss. After this, they managed to form a stand of 113 runs against Namibia later in the tournament.
Opting to bat first, New Zealand posted 152/4 in their 20 overs. Left struggling at 49/3 in eight overs, skipper Kane Williamson (46 off 42 balls) built a 68-run stand with all-rounder Daryl Mitchell, who scored a valuable 53* off 35 balls consisting of three fours and a six. Mitchell and James Neesham (16*) helped their side achieve a defendable total on a slow surface.
Pacer Shaheen Afridi was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan, taking 2/24. Spinner Mohammad Nawaz also took a wicket.
Chasing 153, Pakistan openers Babar Azam (53) and Mohammad Rizwan (57) found form at a perfect time. Both hit valuable half-centuries and added 105 runs for the first wicket in 76 balls.
Mohammad Haris also played a key knock of 30 off 26 balls after Trent Boult dismissed both openers. But Pakistan finished the match with seven wickets in hand and five balls to spare.
Rizwan got the ‘Man of the Match’ for his half-century.
Men in Green will play either India or England in the final of the tournament.
Brief Score: New Zealand 152/4 (Daryl Mitchell 53*, Kane Williamson 46; Shaheen Afridi 2-24) vs Pakistan: 153/3 in 19.1 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 57, Babar Azam 53, Trent Boult 2/33).
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