ABU DHABI, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Former champions Pakistan became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of this year’s Twenty20 World Cup after thrashing Namibia by 45 runs for their fourth consecutive victory in the tournament on Tuesday.
The Group II leaders went into the match with a perfect 3-0 record and minnows Namibia had the will but not the wherewithal to halt the Pakistan juggernaut in the one-sided Super 12 contest.
Babar Azam led by example with a classy 70 and Mohammad Rizwan smashed an unbeaten 79 to fire Pakistan to a commanding 189-2.
Namibia managed 144-5 in their reply to slump to their second defeat in three matches.
“It was a different plan today, we wanted that opening partnership to go deep and it worked for us,” Babar said after the win.
“Everything has gone according to plan. We’re looking forward to the semi-finals and playing our cricket with the same intensity.”
Earlier, https://polskinetwork.org/ Babar combined with Rizwan to give his team a flying start after electing to bat at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Ruben Trumpelmann, who bowled a three-wicket first over against Scotland, began with a maiden over for Namibia.
The African side restricted Pakistan to 29-0 in the powerplay and came close to claiming an early breakthrough when Rizwan, then on two, was given lbw to JJ Smit.
The batsman reviewed the decision which was overturned after replays confirmed the ball had pitched outside the leg-stump.
Babar cruised to another effortless half-century, his third of the tournament, and raised 113 runs for the opening stand with Rizwan.
Babar hit seven boundaries before holing out in the deep deceived by a knuckle-ball from David Wiese.
Zane Green took a one-handed blinder behind the stumps to send back Fakhar Zaman but Mohammed Hafeez chipped in with a 16-ball cameo of 32 not out.
Rizwan, who was adjudged man-of-the-match, plundered 24 runs from the final over from Smit which read 4,6,4,4,4,2.
Chasing an imposing target, Namibia lost Michael van Lingen early and did not get the kind of start that could have kept him in the contest.
Wiese made 43 not out and Craig Williams contributed 40 but Namibia never came even close to pulling off what would have been a massive upset against the 2009 champions.
“We knew from the start that Pakistan are high quality, they look like title contenders,” Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus said.
“We knew we’d have to compete hard and I thought we did that for quite a while.
“We spoke about competing and be better for longer…I thought Pakistan were fantastic in the back 10 and their quality shone through.” (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Dubai; editing by Pritha Sarkar)