Explained: How Pakistan defied all odds to miraculously qualify for semifinals of T20 World Cup

Updated on Nov 06, 2022 01:45 PM IST

Pakistan defeated Bangladesh on Sunday to qualify for the T20 World Cup 2022 semifinals. Team India are the other team to have qualified from Group 2. Meanwhile, South Africa crashed out of contention after losing to Netherlands.

Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi celebrates after taking the wicket Bangladesh's Mosaddek Hossain during the T20 World Cup cricket match between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Adelaide.(AP)
Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi celebrates after taking the wicket Bangladesh's Mosaddek Hossain during the T20 World Cup cricket match between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Adelaide.(AP)

Pakistan have done the unthinkable. Defying all odds, Pakistan miraculously qualified for the semifinals of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022 on Sunday by defeating Bangladesh by 5 wickets at the Adelaide Oval. Chasing a target of 128 runs, Pakistan reached 128 for five in 18.1 overs, with Mohammad Rizwan smashing 32 runs off 32 balls. Earlier, Bangladesh posted 127 for eight in 20 overs, with pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi taking four wickets. Najmul Hossain Shanto registered a half-century (54 off 48 balls) and top scored for Bangladesh but it was not enough as Pakistan comfortably chased it down to secure a place in the final four in the virtual knock out.

How did it get to the virtual knockout in the first place? After defeats to India and a shock upset against Zimbabwe, they were gone, well and truly out of it as their semifinal hopes dangled by a thread. But after a surreal twist of fate, which saw them fight back spiritedly, coupled by a few other results going their way, they are into the semis, where they are likely to battle New Zealand on Wednesday.

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Here is how the fortunes changed for them. Pakistan didn't have the best of starts to their T20 World Cup campaign and lost to England in their warm-up fixture while the other one was washed out. When the Super 12 Stage got underway, Pakistan were expected to perform better but in their first match, lost to India by four wickets. Chasing a target of 160 runs, India reached 160 for six in 20 overs, with Virat Kohli clobbering an unbeaten knock of 82 runs off 53 balls. Meanwhile, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Nawaz bagged two wickets each. Initially, Shan Masood's unbeaten 52 off 42 balls helped Pakistan post 159 for eight in 20 overs.

Pakistan's campaign took a turn for the worse as they lost to Zimbabwe in their next fixture. An all-round display by Sikandar Raza helped Zimbabwe win by one run, with Pakistan failing to chase a modest target of 131 successfully. After losing to Zimbabwe, it was almost curtains and it looked like Pakistan would face an early exit from the tournament. But then the proverbial fat lady sang and luck changed dramatically.

The in-form India lost to South Africa which gave them hope. Pakistan were up against a plethora of permutations and combinations but they had to take one thing at a time. Their first obstacle was to defeat Netherlands which they achieved comfortably. Chasing a target of 92 runs, Pakistan reached 95 for four in 13.5 overs, with Mohammad Rizwan top-scoring with a knock of 49 runs off 39 balls. Meanwhile, Shadab Khan was in good form and took three wickets to initially restrict the Dutch to 91 for nine in 20 overs. After avoiding another upset, Pakistan then proceeded towards a red-hot South Africa, who were inching closer to the semis.

After seeing off the Dutch comfortably, avoiding another upset, Pakistan found themselves pitted against South Africa, which they won after Proteas committed hara-kiri. Pakistan beat South Africa by 33 runs (DLS method) to come back into semifinal contention. A two-wicket haul by Shadab Khan helped Pakistan restrict South Africa to 108 for nine in 14 runs, during their chase of 142 (DLS target). Initially, Pakistan posted 185 for nine in 20 overs, with Shadab also showcasing his brilliance with the bat. He clattered 52 runs off 22 balls, also slamming three fours and four maximums. From 0 points from 2 matches, Pakistan were now 4 of 4.

The win against South Africa threw Group 2 wide open and Pakistan climbed to third spot in the standings. Ahead of Sunday, Pakistan required India or South Africa to avoid winning their respective matches, and also needed to defeat Bangladesh. In a stunning outcome, the Proteas endured a stunning defeat to the Netherlands, losing by 13 runs and getting knocked out. Pakistan woke up to one of the biggest upsets in world cricket, which now meant that their match against Bangladesh was now a virtual quarterfinal. The Babar-led side won the match with ease, defeating Bangladesh by 5 wickets.

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