Pakistan, Australia eye spot in title decider

Pakistan seems primed to win its second title, but will have to come up with a special effort to upstage a tenacious Australia in the second semi-final of the Men’s T20 World Cup here on Thursday
Pakistan, Australia eye spot in title decider
Babar Azam is in fine nick, having already hit four half-centuries at the ongoing T20 WC


The Babar Azam-led Pakistan has defied the odds this edition and was the only team to remain unbeaten in the ‘Super 12’ stage. The ‘Men in Green’ has hardly crumbled under pressure and is comfortable playing in the UAE, which was its home for a number of years.
Following its historic win over arch-rival India, where it looked invincible, Pakistan showed only a few chinks in its armour in the Group 2 matches against New Zealand and Afghanistan. Its formidable top-order comprises skipper Azam and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, both of whom have been in good nick.
Azam, in particular, has been unstoppable, having racked up four half-centuries against his name at the T20 WC 2021. In case the opening duo fails to deliver, 2009 champion Pakistan can bank on its experienced middle-order that consists of Asif Ali as well as veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.
Pakistan’s bowling attack has been as impressive as its batting unit, if not more. Pacers Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf have troubled most batters, but Hasan Ali hasn’t fired. Slow bowlers Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan and Hafeez could be Azam’s main weapons against Australia, a team that usually struggles against spin.
Australia is in good form, having won four of its five Group 1 matches in the Super 12s. Barring the eight-wicket mauling at the hands of England here, the Aaron Finch-led team registered dominant victories. Central to its success has been the potent bowling department, which possesses pacers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins as well as leg-spinner Adam Zampa.
The biggest confidence booster for Australia would be David Warner’s return to form as the opener has brushed aside an indifferent run with two half-centuries in winning causes. Besides Finch and Warner, Australia has enough firepower in the form of Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade.

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