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SYDNEY, Nov 9, (AP): Half-centuries from Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan helped Pakistan beat New Zealand in dominant fashion to book their place in the T20 World Cup final. Rizwan scored 57 runs and Azam added 53 as Pakistan made easy work of a 153-run chase on a placid Sydney wicket. They finished with 153-3 in 19.1 overs.
That came after Shaheen Afridi took 2-24 to help restrict New Zealand to a sub-par 152-4 from its 20 overs. Pakistan await the winners of Thursday’s semifinal between India and England in Adelaide. The final will be played in Melbourne on Sunday. “Luckily the half-century came in the semifinal. It was a tricky pitch,” Rizwan, who was named player of the match, said. “We decided to attack against the new ball. Our start to the tournament wasn’t good, but we kept believing.” Opting to bat after winning the toss, New Zealand got off to a poor but eventful start. Finn Allen hit a boundary off the first ball and survived a close legbefore- wicket shout off the second via review. He was then immediately out lbw off the next delivery.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Devon Conway (21) put on 34 runs for the second wicket before the latter was run out at the end of a powerplay. The Black Caps were then reduced to 49-3 in eight overs as Mohammad Nawaz sent back Glenn Phillips (6). Williamson scored 46 off 42 balls, including a four and a six, and anchored the New Zealand innings. He put on 68 runs off 50 balls with Daryl Mitchell for the fourth wicket. Afridi returned to dismiss Williamson in the 17th overs.
Mitchell hit three fours and a six in completing his half-century off 32 balls. Pakistan’s excellent ground fielding and the wicket’s slow nature then denied New Zealand the chance to launch any type of attack in the final overs. In reply, Azam and Rizwan belied their poor form to put on a century stand for the first wicket. They scored 50 off 34 balls and reached 100 off 70 deliveries. In all, they put on 105 runs off 76 balls to set Pakistan on course for an easy win. Azam was out shortly after reaching his half-century off 38 balls. Meanwhile, Rizwan scored 50 off 36 balls before being dismissed in the 17th over. By then only 21 runs were needed off 18 balls and Pakiston closed it out with five balls to spare, as Mohammad Haris finished with 30 from 26 balls.