T20 World Cup 2022, Pakistan’s road to final: Fortune favours the brave
If ever scripts were to be written for certain sporting events, Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup journey could have been the perfect example of luck sailing you through. But to imagine that the same thing would happen once again 30 years later, would be almost horrendous. However, Pakistan has followed the same script in the 2022 T20 World Cup. After losing back-to-back games to India and Zimbabwe and even after India losing against South Africa, Pakistan managed to qualify for the semis. Winning comprehensively in the semis, they have now reached the final too. Here’s how their road to the final has been
Virat Kohli snatched victory away from Pakistan
It was almost a perfect start for the Pakistan team. Even after making only 159 on the Melbourne pitch, they got India in a fix, picking up the first four wickets for only 31. However, a certain out-of-form player, Virat Kohli rose to the occasion and first added 113 for the fifth wicket with Hardik Pandya and then scored 48 off the last three overs which also included two mind-blowing sixes off Haris Rauf to snatch the victory away from Pakistan.
Humiliating defeat to Zimbabwe
After losing the game against India, Pakistan played Zimbabwe in Perth and it was believed that their pacers will finish Zimbabwe and win it comfortably. Though the pacers didn’t finish Zimbabwe fairly quickly and the Chevrons were able to reach 130, it was the batters of the Pakistani team that disappointed the most as the men in green fell short by one run even after playing the entire 20 overs.
Finally, a good win against the Netherlands
The tournament was almost over for Pakistan by the time the first win came their way. The men in green were ferocious as they faced the Netherlands and made sure that the Dutch couldn’t even cross the 100-run mark. Though pretty slow in approach once again, the batters did finish the job of chasing 92. Shadab Khan starred with 3-22 in this game.
A morale-boosting win against South Africa
By the time Pakistan faced South Africa, the probability that they might just qualify for the finals ‘had left the chat’. If they won, which they did, it was only to remain in the contest mathematically till the very last day. Shadab and Iftikhar Ahmed pulled in a great partnership of 82 runs for the sixth wicket. Those 82 came off just 35 balls and made all the difference to the Pakistani score which was dwindling at 43-4 in the seventh over and eventually ended up at a mighty 185-9.
In the chase, the Proteas did lose two early wickets in the first 7 overs, but they had managed to reach 63 with Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram at the crease. However, Shadab came into the attack and removed both Markram and Bavuma in the same over. Then came the rain, the worst nemesis of South Africa and the Proteas just folded in after the game was restarted, giving Pakistan a 33-run win through the Duckworth-Lewis and Stern method.
The Netherlands miracle and Bangladesh win
On the last day of the league stage, group two was open-ended and any two teams amongst South Africa, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh could have qualified for the semis . For India and South Africa, it was simple, win against weaker oppositions Netherlands and Zimbabwe respectively and go through. For Pakistan and Bangladesh, it was to expect a miracle that either India or South Africa would lose and then the winner of their game could go through.
Zimbabwe beating India still had a 3-4% chance of happening given that the men in red and gold had played a good brand of cricket up until then. But to expect the Netherlands to beat South Africa was once in a lifetime chance. The chance however materialised and South Africa were indeed beaten by the Dutch. Pakistan grabbed this opportunity with both hands and beat Bangladesh comfortably. They chased down 128 with 11 balls and five wickets to spare to make it to the semi-final.
An easy win over the Kiwis in the semis
Just like it was in 1992, Pakistan had found their mojo back before the semis but they were not the favourites. Even after losing the toss in Sydney, they restricted New Zealand to just 152/4. The score could have been lower if not for the semis specialist Daryl Mitchell’s fifty.
On a sluggish pitch and given the form of their openers Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam, the men in green might have struggled to chase this down. But just the way Inzamam-Ul-Haq shone in 1992, Babar and Rizwan did in 2022 as Pakistan chased down the total very easily in the end thanks to 105 run opening stand which came in just 75 balls.
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