ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Wade, Stoinis heroics send Aussies into World Cup final
Matthew Wade hit three consecutive sixes to ice a remarkable run chase against Pakistan and book a T20 World Cup final date with New Zealand
12 November 2021, 05:05 AM AEST
A maiden men’s T20 title is within Australia’s grasp after Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis dragged Australia to their most famous victory in the format and derailed Pakistan’s World Cup juggernaut.
Six years on from playing in the 50-over World Cup final, Australia and New Zealand will once again face-off in a trans-Tasman decider after Wade (41no off 17 balls) iced the semi-final in Dubai with an astonishing innings.
Needing 22 to win with two overs to spare, Wade needed just one as he hit three breathtaking consecutive sixes (two of them scoops over the keeper’s head) off as many Shaheen Shah Afridi deliveries following a crucial dropped catch by Hasan Ali on the leg-side boundary.
It was a remarkable hand, set up by Marcus Stoinis (40no off 31) who hit two sixes of his own after Australia had needed 62 off the final five overs.
The pair put on an unbroken 81-run stand from just 40 balls to finish the game.
Mohammad Rizwan (67 off 52 balls), who recovered to play after spending two nights in a hospital ICU this week with a chest infection, and Fakhar Zaman (55no from 32) slammed four sixes each to lift Pakistan to an imposing total of 4-176.
It is just the second time Australia have made the decider of a T20 World Cup, with both their semi-final wins coming at Pakistan's expense after Mike Hussey's memorable efforts in 2010, but Australia have never won the men's tournament, having lost the final of that tournament to England.
Australia’s victory marks the second semi-final boilover in as many nights after the Kiwis knocked over heavyweights England in Abu Dhabi to win through to the final to be played in Dubai on Monday morning AEDT (Sunday evening local).
David Warner (49 off 30) had singlehandedly kept his side in the hunt but his caught-behind dismissal, which replays suggested could have been overturned had he reviewed, followed by Glenn Maxwell’s exit looked to have buried Australia.
After Shaheen (1-35) sent the Dubai crowd into a frenzy with a captivating opening over, Shadab Khan (4-26) ripped the heart out of the Australian top-order as he dismissed Warner, Maxwell, Mitch Marsh and Steve Smith in a mesmerising spell.
Australia put in a sloppy fielding performance that saw three catches put down and bowled two waist-high beamers, and were fortunate their ill-discipline did not cost them the match.
But there were big-game jitters from their opponents too; Mohammad Hafeez inexplicably bowled a double-bouncer with his first ball (which Warner did well to hit for six) while Hasan’s drop will be a major talking point in the wash-up.
Two bounces - one six! David Warner making the best of a strange situation! #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/LZqu3KUVGh— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 11, 2021
The game had earlier erupted over the course of two consecutive overs split by the innings break.
Fakhar blasted Mitchell Starc into the stands twice in as many balls during the final over of Pakistan’s innings before Afridi somehow turned up the dial further with an electric opening over of unplayable in-swing.
He had Aaron Finch plumb lbw for a golden duck while Marsh (28 off 22) nearly suffered the same fate when he was hit on the toe first ball. Given not out, the review spared him by the barest of margins.
The momentum appeared to be heading all Pakistan's way until Stoinis put the heat back on Hasan and Haris Rauf in the closing overs while Wade then also took aim at Hasan as 40 came off the three overs leading into the remarkable penultimate over from Afridi.
Earlier, captain Aaron Finch could hardly get the words ‘we’ll have a bowl first’ out faster after the coin fell in his favour on a balmy desert evening, safe in the knowledge 10 of the 11 World Cup matches held at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium have been won by the chasing team.
Babar Azam looked the more fluent of the Pakistan openers as he caressed a series of boundaries to continue his strong tournament before spinners Glenn Maxwell (0-20 from three) and Zampa tightened the screws.
Rizwan overcame a nervy start and two lives in the Powerplay as he shamelessly targeted the leg-side, where almost 80 per cent of his runs have come during the tournament, with all of his sixes hit to that side.
Fakhar too struggled for early rhythm, managing only 17 off his first 17 balls and getting a life went Smith put him down at long-on , before unleashing with a devastating late blitz including two final-over sixes off Starc to send the crowd into raptures.
Australia’s bowling at the back-end was hit and miss; Cummins conceded just three from the penultimate over and should have had two wickets from it if not for Smith putting down a sitter off Fakhar a ball after he had caught Asif Ali in the same spot.
Adam Zampa was again outstanding with the ball for Australia, taking 1-22 from four overs and taking the prized wicket of captain Babar Azam, and Starc was Australia's only multiple wicket-taker with 2-38.
2021 Men's T20 World Cup
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams
Super 12 stage
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland, Namibia