T20 World Cup: New Zealand, Pakistan clash after contrasting campaigns | Cricket News


SYDNEY: New ZealandCricket’s quiet achievers, and Pakistan, the game’s most unpredictable side, clash in the first semi-final of the Twenty20 World Cup on Wednesday after making their way to the knockout rounds through starkly contrasting paths.
The Black Caps hammered hosts and champions Australia in their tournament opener, dropping a game and losing a high-quality contest. England before reaching a fifth consecutive white-ball World Cup semi-final as group winners.
Pakistan’s journey began with a remarkable loss against India in front of 92,000 fans at Melbourne Cricket Ground which was followed by an equally dramatic upset at the hands of Zimbabwe and a rain-interrupted victory South Africa.

They scraped into the last four by beating Bangladesh, but only after a stunning upset of South Africa by the Dutch in the final round of group matches paved the way.
However, you get the impression that it likes it much like Pakistan.
“Shadab (Khan) actually said something very significant in the dugout the other day, he said, ‘Welcome to Pakistan cricket’,” team mentor Matthew Hayden said on Tuesday.
“It means that anything can happen on any given day. When the Netherlands beat South Africa, it was a significant moment for us in the tournament and because of that I feel that there was a lot of uplift in our group.”

With Pakistan looking to build on the momentum of their big escape from the group, New Zealand will rely on a tried-and-tested philosophy as they bid to reach the final against either India or England.
“We are just focusing on one game at a time as we have done throughout this tournament,” said captain Kane Williamson.
“And now we’re in a semi-final, which is a nice place to be, but it’s about cricket and the type of cricket we want to commit to and keep playing and that will be our focus.”

Blue skies are forecast for the Sydney Cricket Ground Wednesday for what could be an interesting contrast between two well-balanced teams boasting some good bowling.
For some, the match has echoes of the 1992 50-over World Cup in Australia, where Pakistan scraped into the last four before beating tournament favorites New Zealand in the semi-finals and England in the final.

Williamson was reluctant to credit one of Pakistan’s finest hours in white-ball cricket – they also won the T20 World Cup in 2009 – as any kind of precedent.
“I was two,” he deadpanned. “There’s also a rich history of cricket in New Zealand. A number of great moments.”


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