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Pakistan advance to semis

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South Africa bowl out Bangladesh for 84, win by 6 wickets

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Nov 2, (AP): Powerful half-centuries by Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam lifted Pakistan into the T20 World Cup semifinals with a convincing 45-run victory over inexperienced Namibia on Tuesday. Rizwan smashed an unbeaten 79 off 50 balls and Babar made 70 off 49 deliveries as Pakistan batted first for the first time in the tournament and put on a strong total of 189-2. Namibia always looked second best after their impressive 10 overs with the ball on the field to end at 144-5 and lose their second match in Group 2. Pakistan’s fourth successive win puts them atop the table with eight points. It could go unbeaten into the semifinals as its last group game is against Scotland, another inexperienced team.

Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam bats during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup match between Pakistan and Namibia in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (AP)

In-form Rizwan and Babar were tested by tall leftarm paceman Ruben Trumpelmann early on as Namibia gave away only 59 runs in the first half of Pakistan’s innings with Trumpelmann starting by bowling a maiden over to Rizwan. Rizwan also successfully overturned on review an lbw decision off JJ Smit when he was on just 2 as Namibia conceded just four boundaries in the batting powerplay. But both batsmen cut lose against the rest of the seamers and the legspin of Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton to raise a 113-run stand. Babar hit seven fours, mostly his trademark cover drives, before he holed out off a knuckle ball from David Wiese (1-30) in the 15th over.

Pakistan’s faith in Mohammad Hafeez’s struggling batting form finally paid off as the experienced middle-order batsman smashed 32 off just 16 balls. But it was Rizwan’s clean hitting that provided Pakistan a perfect finish as he hit Smit for 24 runs in the last over that included four boundaries and a six. Namibia never looked in the hunt against Pakistan’s pace and spin which has helped them beat archrivals India, New Zealand and Afghanistan in the earlier group games. Wiese top-scored with an unbeaten 43 off 30 balls and Craig Williams made 40 to narrow the margin of defeat. Fast bowler Hasan Ali returned to bowling form and finished with 1-22 and Haris Rauf, bowling with pace, bagged 1-25 as Pakistan registered its fourth win without making a change into its playing XI.

South Africa bundled out Bangladesh for 84 runs and won by six wickets in a considerable boost to their T20 World Cup semifinals hopes on Tuesday. South Africa’s third win in the Super 12s eliminated injury-hit Bangladesh from semifinals contention with a fourth consecutive loss. Fast bowlers Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada shared six cheap wickets, then their batsmen survived Taskin Ahmed’s twin early strikes as captain Temba Bavuma’s unbeaten knock of 31 carried them to 86-4 in 13.3 overs. Left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shami’s (2-21) knack of taking wickets in the middle overs paid off, and Nortje got the last two wickets off successive deliveries to dismiss Bangladesh in 18.2 overs. Nortje ran to grab a mistimed topedged pull of top-scorer Mehdi Hasan (27) then No. 10 Shoriful Islam became only the second player in T20 World Cup history to get out by hit wicket after he went deep into his crease against a full-pitched delivery only to knock back his stumps with his bat. Bangladesh’s 84 was their third lowest total in the tournament history. “It’s a big game (against England), looking at the competition the way it is, they have had the better of us recently, and we would like to change that,” Bavuma said. Bangladesh complete their campaign against Australia on Thursday.

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