T20 World Cup: Stoinis-Wade Partnership Takes Aussies to the Finals
By: Bhrigu Chopra
Australia secured its position in the ongoing T20 World Cup finals after ending Pakistan’s unbeaten stint with an impressive five-wicket victory at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Pakistan seemed to have the upper hand after scoring 176 in 20 overs, thanks to Mohammad Rizwan’s 67, Fakhar Zaman’s 55* and captain Babar Azam’s 39.
Facing a challenging target of 177, things started sour for Australia as they lost skipper Aaron Finch in the first over. Then, Mitchell Marsh and David Warner took Australia to 52/1 at the end of the powerplay. However, the partnership soon came to an end after Shadab Khan took Mitchell’s wicket. Warner put up a stellar show, scoring 49 off 30, hitting three sixes, but on the other hand, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell could only score 5 and 7 runs, respectively.
The Marcus Stoinis-Matthew Wade partnership of 81 runs for the 6th wicket off 40 balls turned the tables for Australia.
The Aussies were stumbling at 96/5 when wicketkeeper-batter Wade joined allrounder Stoinis on the pitch, playing at 7 off 4. A masterclass by Stoinis and Wade to the Pakistani bowlers followed, which helped Australia reach 127/5 in 16 overs.
With 50 runs needed in the last four overs, Stoinis scored 13 runs, hitting a six and a four in pacer Haris Rauf’s over. Wade followed suit, hitting a six and a four in Hasan Ali’s over, as 15 came off it. One of the best Pakistani, Shaheen Afridi, bowled his last over, as Australia required 22 runs in 12 deliveries.
The dramatic final over began with a dot ball followed by a dropped catch by Hasan Ali and three consecutive sixes by Wade, which secured Australia’s ticket to the final. Stoinis and Wade stood tall, scoring 40* off 31 and 41* off 17. Wade was declared the man of the match.
Thursday’s run chase was the most successful run chase of the tournament, with Australia entering the finals of the T20 World Cup for the first time in 11 years. Australia will face neighbours New Zealand in Dubai's November 14 finals (Sunday), where either team could emerge as first-time champions.
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