Form and momentum is everything in sport. If you are in good form, you can beat any opposition on that particular day. Pakistan have both and have played outstanding cricket in the 20-20 World Cup. They defeated Namibia by 45 runs, their fourth successive win, to seal their place in the semifinals.
The cornerstone of this victory was wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam, who contributed handsomely by scoring 79 and 70 respectively. The win though didn’t come easy as Namibia bowlers, led by pacer Ruben Trumpelmann made the batters work hard on a sluggish Abu Dhabi surface.
Pakistan though were willing to grind it out, which they did and reaped benefits in the latter end of the innings. This is a new character of this Babar Azam-led side, which is now oozing with confidence.
The Men in Green will now face the runners-up of Group A in the semifinals, which will mostly be between South Africa and England. Though West Indies have an outside chance as well, it's very unlikely that they can reach the semifinals.
Rizwan though is not concerned about who Pakistan face in the semis and is confident that the team will continue their juggernaut. “We don’t see the rival team,” said Rizwan.
“Whoever comes in the semi-finals we can take them on, and the way our team is doing we will win that as well.”
Rizwan and Azam batted splendidly well against Namibia and were ready to give some time before unleashing their shots. The powerplay was a critical phase and they weathered that initial storm. The duo’s contribution at the top helped lay the foundation for the middle order batters.
There was a slight twist in the tale in the match as the skipper, Azam decided to bat first after winning the toss. This raised a lot of eyebrows given the previous results but Rizwan said it was a plan to test the team’s approach while batting first.
“We want to see how we do if we bat first, and the plan given to us by coaches was to score 190 plus, and thankfully we managed that,” said Rizwan.
Pakistan will now play its’ last Super 12 against Scotland on Sunday (November 7).