Afridi shines as Pakistan reaches the semi-finals of the World Cup T20


Pakistan is recovering from losses in the first two matches to reach the last four.

Fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi returned the best career figures 4-22 to lead Pakistan to the Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals with a five-wicket victory over Bangladesh in a do-or-die clash.

Pakistan chased a modest 128 for the win in Adelaide and hit their target with 11 balls left to join India in the last four of Group 2.

The match turned into a virtual quarter-final after the Netherlands stunned South Africa in the opening match of the day, a result that took India to the semi-finals. New Zealand and England qualified from Group 1.

Muhammad Rizwan scored the highest score for Pakistan against Bangladesh with a run-a-ball 32 [Brenton Edwards/AFP]

Man of the match Afridi, who missed the last Asian Cup due to injury, said: “I have improved. [It was] it’s not easy coming back from injury…but I’m doing my best. As a team we are very happy. We played great. Get to the right places and the plan was soon.”

Pakistan recovered from defeat in the opening game against India and a shocking loss to Zimbabwe – both of the last balls – to beat South Africa last week.

They had a springy step after South Africa’s shocking loss earlier on Sunday and Afridi struck early as the quick left-arm sent Litton Das back for 10 after Bangladesh’s decision to strike first at the Adelaide Oval.

Najmul Hossain Shanto took advantage of a reprieve when the usually safe Shadab Khan dropped the left-handed batsman to 11 on short extra. The opener went to the highest score with 54 for Bangladesh.

Shadab hit twice on consecutive balls, with Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan handing out lbw. He watched the decision and replays showed the ball grazed the bat before it hit the pad.

But the third umpire maintained the call on the field when Shakib looked stunned, waved his hands and refused to walk away.

Shakib’s wicket seemed to affect the Bangladeshi batters, who suddenly didn’t look good and managed to pull out a subpar total despite an unbeaten 24 by Afif.

Mohammad Rizwan, who made 32 after surviving a flyout to nil, and Babar Azam, who scored 25, returned an opening score of 57, but Pakistan seemed to lose their way in the middle.

Rizwan fell over to fast bowler Ebadot Hossain in the next when Bangladesh looked to fight back and Mohammad Nawaz had to run on four.

But Mohammad Haris made 31 and forged partnerships, including a 29-run tie with Shan Masood, unbeaten at 24, to guide Pakistan to the semi-finals.

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