The eternal New Zealand underdogs see their road to the final blocked by a courageous Pakistani team.
Who: Pakistan vs New Zealand
When: November 9, 08:00 GMT
Where: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia
The first semi-final of the T20 World Cup pits two teams that, for different reasons, few expected to see at this stage of the tournament.
New Zealand’s underdog tag at every World Cup is as perennial as it is disconcerting. The Black Caps have reached at least the semi-finals of every World Cup since 2015 and lost runners-up in 2019 (50 overs) and 2021 (20 overs).
Despite this stellar record, few expected them to emerge from the group which also included England and Australia, let alone surpass it.
Pakistan, meanwhile, evoked the spirit of their triumph at the 1992 World Cup where they progressed to the semi-finals despite winning just one of their first five games and went on to win the chopped off.
To say their tournament so far has been a roller coaster ride would be an understatement. Praise for their World Cup campaign began to pour in after their loss to Zimbabwe, but victories in their last three group games and a helping hand from the Netherlands who beat South Africa, the saw them seal a place in the semi-finals.
Mathew Hayden “They take part in great moments and that’s what I love the most about Pakistan Cricket. Babar Azam is out of shape but there is calm before every storm. In 2007 WC Gilchrist was out color but in the final he turned out to be a match winner, Babar will soon shine” #PakvsNz #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/GA45AFyntK
— Ahmad Haseeb (@iamAhmadhaseeb) November 8, 2022
Pakistan hold the edge over New Zealand in their T20 head-to-head record, having won 17 of 28 matches.
Over the past year, the two have crossed paths on several occasions. In their Super 12 tie at the World Cup last year, Pakistan comfortably beat New Zealand by five wickets. Ahead of this year’s tournament, the teams, along with Bangladesh, played a T20 tri-series where Babar Azam’s men won two out of three games against the Black Caps, including the final.
But Kane Williamson will be encouraged by the fact that Pakistan have lost each of their last three tournament semi-finals.
Road to the final
The Black Caps beat hosts and champions Australia in their opener, lost one game and lost a high quality game against England before reaching a fifth straight World Cup white ball semi-final as as group winners.
- Beat Australia by 89 points
- Abandoned game against Afghanistan
- Beat Sri Lanka by 65 points
- Lost to England by 20 points
- Beat Ireland by 35 points
Pakistan’s journey began with a remarkable defeat to India in front of 92,000 fans in Melbourne, followed by an equally dramatic upset at the hands of Zimbabwe and a rain-disturbed win over South Africa.
They qualified for the last four by beating Bangladesh, but only after a superb upset of South Africa by the Dutch in the last round of group matches paved the way.
- Lost in India by four wickets
- Lost to Zimbabwe by one point
- Beat the Netherlands by six wickets
- Beat South Africa by 33 points
- Beat Bangladesh by five wickets
There are four teams left 🤩
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) November 8, 2022
The Australian pitches were perfectly suited to both teams’ formidable pace attacks.
Shaheen Afridi has shown signs of being back to his best after injury and is ably supported by Haris Rauf and Mohamad Wasim.
For New Zealand, their trusted trio of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson have all been impressive.
The semi-final will depend on the batting of the teams. New Zealand’s First Order is peppered with firepower with Glenn Phillips, Finn Allen and Devon Conway. While Kane Williamson has been in terrific form, his 61 from 35 in their final group game against Ireland is an encouraging sign for New Zealand.
Pakistani star fly-half Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam have so far struggled to speak fluently. As the likes of Iftikhar Ahmed, Shan Masood and Shadab Khan have stepped up at regular intervals, Pakistan will lead their openers into fire if they are to reach their first T20 World Cup final since 2009. And then there is the discovery recent that is Mohammad Haris. .