Syndey: Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam slammed half-centuries as Pakistan powered past New Zealand by seven wickets and into the Twenty20 World Cup final Wednesday, moving within one win of a second title.
They will meet either England or India -– who play on Thursday in Adelaide — in the November 13 decider at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Pakistan set the tone at the Sydney Cricket Ground with some razor-sharp fielding and disciplined bowling that restricted New Zealand to just 152-4.
In front of 36,443 strongly pro-Pakistan spectators, Rizwan (57) and Azam (53) took apart the Black Caps’ renowned bowling attack in a 105-run opening stand, and despite a nervous finish after both fell, they completed a deserved victory with five balls to spare.
Pakistan last claimed the title in 2009 at Lord’s in England when they beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets, and it has been a rollercoaster ride in Australia to make another final.
After agonising last-ball losses to India and Zimbabwe in the group phase, they bounced back to topple the Netherlands and South Africa. Then against the odds they went through when the Proteas were stunned by the Dutch and Pakistan eased past Bangladesh.
New Zealand, who topped Group 1, were aiming to make the final for the second consecutive time, but their hunt for a maiden T20 title again fell short.
Teams batting first had won five from six games played in Sydney this tournament and when Kane Williamson won the toss he had no hesitation in asking Pakistan to bowl, but it proved to be tough going.