Pakistan makes dramatic entry into T20 WC semi-finals

With seven runs needed, Haris almost did a harakiri and was dismissed by Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan (1/35). Pakistan lost one more wicket in the form of Iftikhar Ahmed (1) with just two required for win.
Shaheen Afridi
Shaheen Afridi

ADELAIDE: Pakistan defied all odds to make a dramatic entry into the T20 World Cup semi-finals with a clinical five-wicket win over Bangladesh after being handed a fresh lease of life by the Netherlands, which stunned South Africa earlier on Sunday.

Standing on the verge of an early exit from the marquee event following defeats against India and Zimbabwe in Super 12 Group 2, Pakistan was handed a lifeline after the Netherlands shocked South Africa by 13 runs at the same venue.

Opting to bat, Bangladesh got off to a rollicking start with Najmul Hossain Shanto slamming a 48-ball 54 (7 fours) but lacked the final flourish as Pakistan rode on pacer Shaheen Afridi’s career-best T20I figures of 4/22 to restrict its opponent to 127 for eight.

It was not a straightforward chase as Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals to find itself in a tricky position before Shan Masood (24 not out off 14 balls, 2 fours) held his nerve to seal the win with 11 balls to spare. Mohammad Haris played a crucial 18-ball 31 (1 four, 2 sixes) after Pakistan lost both its openers – Babar Azam (25) and Mohammad Rizwan (32) – in quick succession.

With seven runs needed, Haris almost did a harakiri and was dismissed by Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan (1/35). Pakistan lost one more wicket in the form of Iftikhar Ahmed (1) with just two required for win. Pakistan had employed a watchful strategy while chasing with skipper Babar desperate to get some runs under his belt. Rizwan got a reprieve on zero when Bangladesh wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan dropped a dolly in the first over.

Earlier, on a difficult pitch, Shanto hit an entertaining half-century before Bangladesh faltered in the death overs. Shanto was at his fluent best and pierced the field at ease en route to his second fifty of the tournament. Bangladesh was easily looking at a 150-plus score when Shadab Khan (2/30) triggered the collapse.

The leg-spinner took two wickets in as many balls, including a dubious DRS dismissal of Bangladesh skipper Shakib for a golden duck.

BRIEF SCORES: Bangladesh 127/8 in 20 overs (NH Shanto 54, S Afridi 4/22) lost to Pakistan 128/5 in 18.1 overs (Md. Rizwan 32, Md. Haris 31)

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