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PIX: Pakistan outclass Namibia to storm into World Cup semis

Last updated on: November 03, 2021 00:10 IST
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Images from the T20 World Cup match between Pakistan and Namibia, in Abu Dhabi, on Tuesday.

Pakistan opener Babar Azam sends the ball to the boundary during his 49-ball 70.

IMAGE: Pakistan opener Babar Azam sends the ball to the boundary during his 49-ball 70 in the T20 World Cup Super 12s match against Namibia, in Abu Dhabi, on Tuesday. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Half-centuries from Mohammed Rizwan and Babar Azam helped Pakistan outclass Namibia by 45 runs and storm into the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, in Abu Dhabi, on Tuesday.

Skipper Azam scored 70 and his opening partner Rizwan smashed an unbeaten 79 to power Pakistan to a huge 189 for 2 in their 20 overs.

 

In reply, Namibia gave a good account of themselves as they finished on 144 for 5 in their 20 overs, with David Wiese smashing an entertaining 43 from 31 balls and Craig Williams 40.

Pakistan registered their fourth victory in a row to become the first team in the World Cup to qualify for the semi-finals. They are top in Group 2 with eight points.

IMAGE: Pakistan fast bowler Haris Rauf hugs David Wiese of Namibia after the match. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Earlier, Azam’s decision to bat first after winning the toss went against the tournament trend, with teams preferring to chase throughout the World Cup so far.

But Pakistan defied the norm to build a formidable total as they went in search of a fourth straight win in Group 2.

Mohammad Hafeez added polish to the innings with a sparkling 32 off just 16 at the end, as Pakistan scored an eye-watering 130 runs in the last ten overs.

Namibia's Jan Frylinck and Zane Green celebrate the wicket of Pakistan's Babar Azam.

IMAGE: Namibia's Jan Frylinck and Zane Green celebrate the wicket of Pakistan's Babar Azam. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

The tactic in the Powerplay was clear from Pakistan, who looked to see off dangerman Ruben Trumpelmann and bide their time before accelerating later in the innings.

Trumpelmann’s two overs first up went for just two runs, with Rizwan particularly conservative, scoring at a strike rate below 50 through the fielding restrictions, reaching just 29-0 after six overs.

But the Pakistani pair made hay after their steady start, pushing through the gears through the middle overs.

Mohammad Rizwan hit 8 fours and 4 sixes in his 79 off 50 balls.

IMAGE: Mohammad Rizwan hit 8 fours and 4 sixes in his 79 off 50 balls. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

And the return of Trumpelmann in the 12th over was the perfect illustration of the change of mindset, with 18 coming off it and Azam reaching his 23rd T20I half-century off 40 balls.

The inspired Azam did eventually fall for 70, holing out to deep midwicket off David Wiese.

Fakhar Zaman was dismissed in the next over, caught superbly by Zane Green off Jan Frylinck.

J J Smit celebrates after rapping Mohammad Rizwan on the pads. Namibia appealed for LBW, but umpire Brown said not out. The decision was upheld after a review.

IMAGE: J J Smit celebrates after rapping Mohammad Rizwan on the pads. Namibia appealed for LBW, but umpire Brown said not out. The decision was upheld after a review. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Just when it looked like the Pakistan innings might be stalling, out came Hafeez to take advantage of the platform laid by the opening pair.

The veteran’s surgical stroke-play saw him find the boundary five times in his sparkling 32.

But it was Rizwan who finished the innings in style, hitting 24 off the final over as he carried his bat through the innings and finished with 79 not out off 50.

Namibia opener Michael van Lingen is bowled out by Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali.

IMAGE: Namibia opener Michael van Lingen is bowled out by Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Replying to the huge total, Namibia played well against the formidable Pakistan attack, but never looked likely to score fast enough on a tricky surface to chase down 190.

Shaheen Shah Afridi threatened with his high pace and swing first up for Pakistan, but it was Ali who picked up the first scalp, shaping the ball back in through Michael van Lingen’s defences and crashing into middle stump.

Haris Rauf celebrates with teammate Mohammad Rizwan after running out Stephan Baard.

IMAGE: Haris Rauf celebrates with teammate Mohammad Rizwan after running out Stephan Baard. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Namibia struggled to up the run-rate, but Stephan Baard and Williams did put together a decent recovery after the loss of Van Lingen, adding 46 for the second wicket before Baard was run out for a run-a-ball 29.

Skipper Gerhard Erasmus showed his power game with a quickfire 15 before falling to Imad Wasim in the 13th over, and Williams departed an over later for 40, miscuing to long-off.

And despite falling short of the target, Namibia had some late fun as David Wiese banged 43 not out off 31 balls to finish as his side's top-scorer.

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