The stage is set - it will be a Trans-Tasman final at the T20 World Cup 2021, which will see the crowning of a new champion. Aaron Finch's Australia bulldozed their way through Babar Azam's Pakistan with a five-wicket win on Thursday to book a date with Kane Williamson's New Zealand in Dubai.
The first innings was a usual start for the Men in Green as Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan laid the foundation to take Pakistan to a competitive 176-4 in the first innings. Australia's chase was piquantly poised when they needed 62 runs off 30 balls, but Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade turned the heat on.
Their 81-run partnership helped Australia script a chase for the ages. Wade hit three back-to-back sixes against Shaheen Afridi soon after a dropped catch in the penultimate over to take his team home with six balls to spare.
Azam scored a steady 39 which took his overall tally in the T20 World Cup to 303, making him the top run-getter so far. At the same time, Rizwan's 67 helped him jump four spots in the most runs table to rank second after his skipper. He ended the competition with 281 runs from six innings, 12 ahead of third-place Jos Buttler.
The only completion for Azam for his top-scorer trophy is likely to come from David Warner. Chasing 177, Warner looked to be in his best touch in two years, scoring a flawless 30-ball 49. He was set for more before he inexplicably chose to walk back when the umpire gave him out caught-behind to a ball he hadn't nicked.
But the innings helped the southpaw jump from no.9 to no.4 in the most runs table with a total of 236 runs. He now has another match to close the gap with Azam and cap what will be a remarkable comeback after a disappointing IPL.
Warner's opening partner Aaron Finch has been Australia's second-best batter in the T20 World Cup with 130 runs. But he couldn't add much to his tally with a first-ball duck and remained steady in the 26th rank of the most runs table. You can see the top-50 rankings here.
T20 World Cup 2021: Leg spinners' delight in the most wickets table
For the second game in a row, it was the leg-spinners who shone the brightest in the T20 World Cup's most wickets table.
Adam Zampa, who was among the most pumped Aussies in the dugout when Wade hit the winning runs, had picked up the crucial wicket of the Pakistan captain earlier in the evening. This took his tournament tally to 12 scalps, closing the gap with top-ranked Wanindu Hasranga to four wickets.
While it doesn't look feasible, Zampa has already taken a fifer in the tournament and will back himself to recreate something similar against the Kiwis in the final.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's Shadab Khan, who looked far from his best in the T20 World Cup, took a four-fer against Australia to shoot up his total tally to nine wickets. He was not even a part of the top-50 before this game, but ended the competition as the ninth-best bowler. You can see the top-50 most wickets rankings here.
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