November 10, 2021

New Zealand storm into T20 World Cup final


By Ehsan Qureshi in UAE 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The trio of Daryl Mitchell, Devon Conway and Jimmy Neesham powered New Zealand to the ICC T20 World Cup final when they outsmarted England by five wickets at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on November 10. 

It was a night to remember for the New Zealanders who quietly came from behind to break the shackles in the final overs to script one of their famous wins in white ball cricket. They needed 57 from the last four overs and completed the job with full one over to spare. 

It was a sweet revenge by Blackcaps to their defeat at the hands of England in the 50 overs final at Lord’s London in 2019 which was decided on super over. 

Playing the innings of his lifetime, Mitchell smashed an unconquered 72 off 47 balls to be declared Man of the Match. The hard-hitting Neesham banged 27 in mere 11 balls with three towering sixes and one four while Conway laid the platform a solid 46 off 38 balls. 

New Zealand looked in dire straits while chasing the target of 167 when they lost their prolific duo of opener Mark Guptill and captain Kane Williamson very early. But the manner in which the relatively inexperienced campaigners reconstructed the innings was truly commendable. 

England appeared to have gained decisive control over the game when occasional leg-spinner Liam Livingstone delivered a sensational four-over spell in which he not only picked a couple of wickets but also gave away only 22 runs. Eion Morgan could not asked for better performance with the ball from his fifth bowler.

Incredibly, New Zealand chose to take the experienced bowlers to be put to sword. Chris Jordan, who bowled a probing opening spell of two overs, was hammered for 23 runs in the 17th over and his new-ball partner Chris Woakes was hammered for 20 in the 19th over to settle the issue without going into the final over. 

Put into bat, England seemed to have done well to post a total of 166 for four in the allotted overs with left-handed Moeen Ali scoring a brilliant unbeaten 51 off 37 balls. David Malan also scored an enterprising 41 off 30 balls while Livingstone sparkled briefly for his 17 off 10 balls.

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Rizwan, Shoaib down with fever, test negative for COVD-19


By Ehsan Qureshi in Dubai 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Two of Pakistan's key players, Muhammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik, missed training and practice session at the ICC Academy Ground in Dubai on November 10 due to fever. 

The media manager informed reports both the key players were rested due to fever. They were tested COVID-19 and both were declared negative much to the relief of the Pakistan camp. 

Meanwhile Pakistan will be taking on Australia in the second semifinal on November 11 and the fitness of Rizwan and Shoaib remained vital as they have been instrumental in helping green shirts emerge victorious in all five league games. Pakistan could face problems if they were unable to recover in time for the match. 

Veteran Shoaib, living to his reputation of power hitter, smashed a hurricane unbeaten 54 off 18 balls hoisting half a dozen sixes in the last league outing while wicketkeeper-opener Rizwan, in company of skipper Babar Azam, has played the pivotal role in getting the team off to flying starts. 

Fresh from five straight wins in the tournament, Pakistan will be needed to extend the momentum in the crunch game against the formidable Aussies to continue their march towards glory. Pakistan eye berth in the final for third time with the ultimate goal being reclaiming the crown they clinched under Younis Khan in 2009 in England. 

The Australians, like the Pakistan squad, were also engaged in extensive training and practice sessions at the same venue and, led by Aaron Finch, they looked supremely confident going into the knockout phase. They have turned out to be one of most powerful sides to have entered the competition and their semifinal encounter with Pakistan is expected to be a cracker. 

Not surprisingly all the tickets for the game were declared to have been sold out with the highest priced tickets reported to be around US$3000.

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