Pakistan and Australia face each other in the second semi-final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 on Thursday. Pakistan topped the show in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage, winning all five games in a convincing manner. Meanwhile, the Aussies finished second in Group 1, with four wins and a defeat. Pakistan are the favourites but one shouldn’t write off the Aussies.
The winner between the two sides will take on New Zealand in the final. New Zealand overcame England by five wickets in the first semi-final in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan and Australia have what it takes to dazzle on any given day. Pakistan started their campaign with a massive 10-wicket win versus India. They went on to earn victories against New Zealand, Afghanistan, Namibia, and Scotland to maintain a 100% record.
Australia lost against England but registered wins against South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh to make it through. The Aussies are in search of a maiden World T20 trophy win and skipper Aaron Finch will look to make his presence felt and lift the side. Australia have work to do. In this article, we present the key player battles.
Shaheen Afridi vs David Warner
One of the finest T20 batters – David Warner will need to negotiate the threat presented by left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi. Warner has had a mixed tournament so far. He has got scores of 14, 65, 1, 18, and 89*. He has a crucial task ahead in keeping Afridi at bay. Warner has to see off the early threat and then go after the others. Meanwhile, Afridi is a dangerous customer in the powerplay overs. His yorkers and swinging fuller deliveries can make life difficult. He has six wickets so far in the tourney.
Haris Rauf vs Glenn Maxwell
Right-arm fast bowler Haris Rauf can be productive for Pakistan. He is their most successful bowler in the ongoing tournament with eight wickets. Rauf will aim to target Australia’s, Glenn Maxwell. The Aussie all-rounder can play a handful knock once set and the target will be to surprise him early on with tighter deliveries and not give away much room. It will be a keen contest between these two.
Josh Hazlewood vs Babar Azam
Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood has gained 11 spots to break into the top 10 of the ICC T20I Rankings. He has been the best bowler for the Aussies and the stint in IPL 2021 helped him massively. Hazlewood often gets everything right and doesn’t produce freebies. His challenge will be against Babar Azam. The Pakistan skipper has scored the most runs in the ongoing tournament and is Pakistan’s anchor. He has four half-centuries under his belt and will look to play steadily against an in-form Hazlewood.
Adam Zampa vs Mohammad Hafeez
Adam Zampa has gone from strength to strength with his spin offerings and is a dangerous customer in the middle overs. Zampa has been bowling in the right channels and dazzled in the last match against Bangladesh. The right-arm spinner will need to negotiate well versus Mohammad Hafeez. The veteran Pakistan batter is a good player of spin and can contribute immensely with his aggressive approach. Hafeez will want to rotate the strike well against Zampa and go for the occasional loose balls if they come along.