Babar (70), Rizwan's (79*) fifties secure semi-final spot for Pakistan, remain unbeaten at T20 World Cup so far.
Pakistan 189 for 2 (Rizwan 79*, Babar 70) beat Namibia 144 for 5 (Wiese 43, Williams 40, Imad 1-13, Hasan 1-22) by 45 runs
Favourites for bagging the T20 championship silverware this time, Pakistan came at the back of three consecutive wins, which has nearly reserved their place in the semi-finals. On the other hand, Namibia with a 50-50 record in the tournament entered this match-up after a 62-run loss to Afghanistan in their last game.
Luck also seemed to have befriended Pakistan with skipper Babar Azam winning the toss for the fourth time in a row in the tournament. He opted to bat first against Namibia in a clever yet tactical decision to test and assess the side’s batting ahead of the semi-final encounter. Zayed Cricket Stadium witnessed the side winning the toss bat first for the first time in the ongoing tournament.
A 100-run opening stand for Pakistan
Pakistan got off to a slow yet clinical start of their innings. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan played Namibia speedster Rubel Trumpelmann cautiously that resulted in a maiden first over. The duo kept it silent with just singles and until Babar Azam hit the first boundary in the 4th over.
Namibia bowlers especially Jan Frylinck, Ben Shikongo and JJ Smit initially kept it all tight for the Pakistan batters. But that barely bothered Pakistan openers as the side still had all 10 wickets in hand and the scorecard kept ticking at 6.00 runs per over. Pakistan were 59/0 after 10 overs at the drinks break.
After the drinks break, both the openers loosened their hands and started guiding the ball towards the boundary. In that way, Babar Azam playing gingerly all this time reached his half-century off Trumpelman’s over. He continued to lead the side from the forefront as he raced to his third half-century of the tournament. He further smacked two boundaries, punishing Trumpelmann for 18 runs in the 12th over.
Rizwan and Babar, in their continued assault on Namibia bowlers also advanced the team total to 100+ runs with their opening stand. It was Pakistan’s second 100+ stand in the tournament, with the first one being that against India in their opening game.
However, Namibia finally got a breakthrough with David Wiese striking in the 15th over and cleaning up Babar Azam at the team total of 113 runs. The Pakistan skipper hit 70 runs off 49 balls at a strike rate of 142.86 constituting seven boundaries. Namibia got their second wicket in the form of Fakhar Zaman on a paltry 5 runs as Pakistan’s innings stood at 122/2 in 15.4 overs.
Mohammad Rizwan continues onslaught
After the dismissal of Babar Azam (70) and Fakhar Zaman (5), Mohammad Rizwan took charge and went on to hit several boundaries and sixes. He paired with Mohammad Hafeez who played a 16-ball cameo and blasted Namibia bowlers for as many as 5 boundaries and scored 32 runs. Hafeez punished Trumpelmann for 17 runs along with Rizwan in the 18th over as the latter remained wicketless in the innings.
Rizwan went on to score his fifty in style with a six off David Wiese’s over. He further paced Pakistan’s innings by aggregating 24 runs in the final over by carting four boundaries and a six, including a couple, thereby taking the team total to 189/2 after 20 overs.
Namibia off to an optimistic start
Chasing a stiff total of 190 runs, Namibia lost their first wicket in just the 2nd over as Hasan Ali rattled opener Michael van Lingen’s stumps for just 4 runs. However, Stephan Baard and Craig Williams who came at third down looked unfazed as the duo went on to pile runs in the powerplay. The duo aggregated 34 runs in the powerplay and took the team to a 50+ figure in the 9th over. The prosperous partnership finally came to an unfortunate end due to a minor lack of coordination leading to the run out of Craig Williams. He went for the second run only to realise he wouldn’t make it and was dismissed for 29 runs.
Following his wicket, rest of the Namibian innings displayed ab undecorated intent to chase down the stiff target, although skipper Gerhard Erasmus hit Shadab Khan for a six and boundary in the 10th over.
Namibia was 70/2 after 10 overs half-way through the game with 120 runs needed off the last 10 overs.
Pakistan bounced back into the game with the crucial wicket of Namibia captain as Imad Wasim got his first wicket and Pakistan got its 2nd wicket of the game. Wasim dismissed Erasmus for just 15 runs and welcomed the new batter David Wasim in the middle.
The next wicket to fall was of Craig Williams who was well set on 40 runs; he tried to go for a bigger shot but ended up fending the ball to Hasan Ali at long-on. Namibia’s innings was bruised by the 4th wicket and the target became more daunting.
Namibia needed 97 runs off 36 deliveries with all their top batters already back to the pavilion. However, new batter David Wiese led a lone battle with the bat as he gave Pakistani bowlers a run for their money by targeting them for regular boundaries and sixes. He blasted Shaheen Afridi for a six and a couple of fours and also targeted Haris Rauf for 12 runs in the 19th over.
Wiese remained unbeaten on 43* off 31 deliveries with his side managing 144/5 in 20 overs. The target was too stiff for them considering the fact that their bowlers conceded 35-40 odd runs against Mohammad Hafeez and Mohammad Rizwan.
Despite a good and gritty fight by Namibia, Pakistan beat them by 45 runs and advanced into the semi-finals of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
Player of the Match
Mohammad Rizwan won the player of the match award for his unbeaten 79* runs knock, and the way he charged down to add 24 runs in the final over helping his side put up a mammoth 189/2 in 20 overs. He now has most number of T20 runs in 2021 with 1661 runs under his belt.
Although Namibia lost by 45 runs, their batters put up a good fight and didn’t give easy wickets to Shaheen Afridi (who remained wicketless), a notable achievement indeed considering that the left-armer is bowling well currently.
Stats and Facts
- Babar Azam became the first captain to score three half-centuries in a T20 World Cup tournament. He scored 70 runs off 49 balls on Tuesday at a strike rate of 142.86.
- Babar Azam also surpassed India skipper Virat Kohli for most 50+ scores as captain in T20I format.
- Mohammad Rizwan now has most number of runs (1079 runs) in T20Is as an opener (minimum 20 innings).
- The duo of Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam have turned out to be the most efficient and successful pair in T20Is. They now share the most 100+ runs partnership in the shortest format which is five times.
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