T20 World Cup 2022,1st Semi-Final: New Zealand vs Pakistan - Talking points and Who Said What?

Pakistan completed a comprehensive win by seven wickets against New Zealand to storm into the final of the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan Team
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Pakistan Team (Photo Source: Twitter/PCB)
Chaitanya Prakash
CHAITANYA PRAKASH

Jr. Staff Writer

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Pakistan making the final of the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia would have been a cruel joke on their fans a week ago, but it's no more than what they deserved after outplaying the Kiwis in the first semi-final at the SCG. The Men in Green dished out a clinical victory to storm into the final of the competition after failing at this stage against Australia last year.

Babar Azam's men are now the favourites to lift the trophy after building a head of steam before the grand finale at the iconic MCG either against India or England. 

Before listening to comments of the skippers from both sides, we look at the talking points from the game:

Rising to the occasion 

The Pakistani cricket team has been much maligned for their sloppy fielding efforts in the recent past. But the Men in Green upped their game against the Kiwis, taking all their catches and being at their sharp best in the outfield. Shadab Khan ran out the dangerous Devon Conway by hitting the bull's eye to highlight their brilliant work in the field.

Deer in the headlights

Pakistan have been a thorn in the flesh for the Kiwis in ICC tournaments and it proved to be the case in the first semi-final at the SCG. The Men in Green restricted the Kiwis to a par total and raced off the blocks in their chase thanks to their mercurial opening pair. But Kane Williamson's side looked second best for most of the contest as their bowlers looked toothless in the powerplay. They were guilty of dropping a couple of catches, along with missed run-out opportunities which cost them dearly in the end.

Ticking all the boxes

Pakistan were down and out after losing their first two matches in the competition, but that feels like a distant memory now as Babar Azam's side are the team to beat into the final. The opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan got back to their best registering their third-century stand in the competition, the most by any pair in the history of T20 World Cups, while Shaheen Afridi keeps delivering with the ball. They have got all the bases covered and look adamant about lifting their second T20I title.

Player of the match, Mohammad Rizwan said: 

Luckily, the fifty was in the semifinal. Babar and I were struggling but we worked hard and believed. We kept fighting. When we crossed the boundary line, we decided to take the attack to the new ball bowlers. When we finished the powerplay, we knew one of us had to bat deep as it was a tricky pitch. Our start (to the tournament) wasn't good, but the guys kept believing.

Losing skipper, Kane Williamson said: 

We were put under pressure early. Pakistan bowled very nicely. We managed to wrestle back some momentum with an unbelievable knock from Mitchell. At the halfway stage we were feeling it was a competitive total. Wicket was a bit tough - used surface. Very disappointing to not make Pakistan work a lot harder. They were outstanding. We were outplayed. It's a tough pill for us to swallow. Babar and Rizwan put us under pressure. If we're honest, we wanted to be more disciplined in our areas. At the end of the day, Pakistan certainly deserve to be winners. There's been a lot of good cricket. Throughout the round-robin, we've played nicely. Today we weren't at our best. Having said that, we know the fickle nature of T20 cricket.

Winning Skipper, Babar Azam said:

Thanks to the crowd. We feel like we're playing at home. Got a good start with the first 6 overs with the ball. Later on, the ball didn't come on well. Fast bowlers finished well. We planned before going that we'll utilize the powerplay. He's a young guy and showing his aggression (Haris). He's playing very well. We're going to enjoy this moment. But at the same time have focused on the final.