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Pakistan's journey to T20 World Cup 2022 final: From almost being eliminated to an epic comeback

Pakistan's journey to T20 World Cup 2022 final: From almost being eliminated to an epic comeback

Pakistan's journey to T20 World Cup 2022 final: From almost being eliminated to an epic comeback
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By Ravi P Sharma  Nov 9, 2022 7:35:43 PM IST (Published)

From the brink of elimination in the Super 12 stage, Pakistan made an epic comeback to reach the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup. They last featured in a T20 WC final back in 2009.

Major upsets, heartbreaking losses, miracles, then the resurgence and Pakistan are through to the finals of the T20 World Cup 2022. And mind you, from the brink of elimination. Yes, Pakistan have made it to their first T20 WC final after 13 years. The journey of the Men in Green to the final of the showpiece event in Australia is one scripted in heaven. It is a story of a team rising, literally from Down Under.

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Babar Azam's men started their campaign with two last-ball edge-of-the-seat thrillers. First, it was a hope-shattering defeat from archrivals India by 4 wickets, when India snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, courtesy one of the best T20I innings ever of 82* off 53 by Virat Kohli. The impact of that loss would've stayed with the Pakistani team. And in the very next match, Zimbabwe pipped them by 1 run, again in a last-ball entertainer.
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Pakistan's final hopes were all but over at that time as they were on the brink of elimination. But they never stopped believing. They took one match at a time and kept crushing opponents from there on. The Men in Green thumped Netherlands by 6 wickets, South Africa by 33 runs (DLS method) and Bangladesh by 5 wickets to finish 2nd in Group 2 and qualified for the semifinals.
However, it wasn’t that simple for Pakistan. In the first two matches, luck went against them as they ended on the losing side in matches they should’ve won. And just when it seemed all over, luck turned in favour for them. Last Sunday, the Men in Green, in all probability, would’ve been preparing themselves for their journey back home after their last Super 12 match against Bangladesh but a miraculous 13-run victory for Netherlands versus South Africa knocked the Proteas out of the tournament.
South Africa, in red-hot form, were almost sure to make it to the semis but blockbuster scripts have their share of twists and turns. The Dutchmen punched above their weight and pulled out, what can be called, the upset of the tournament! The fortunes were turning and the mercurial Pakistan were conscious to take note of it.  A window opened for Babar Azam and Co., and they seized on to it. Pakistan’s match against Bangladesh became a virtual quarterfinal and Pakistan progressed to the last four.
In fact, a team, who was beaten by Zimbabwe earlier, made light work of the South African team. Typical mercurial Pakistani team at the office! But their performance can’t just be attributed to luck and destiny. They’ve regrouped well, they’ve not stopped believing and their resurgence is reminding people of Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup campaign in Australia, where they were beaten in the first two matches but went on to lift the trophy.
In the semifinal against New Zealand, Pakistan brought their A game to the fore. First, the Pakistani team stifled the Black Caps to a rather modest total of 152/4 after they opted to bat. Shaheen Shah Afridi looked his best in the tournament with 2/24. Babar Azam (53) and Mohammad Rizwan (57) then showed that big players do rise to the occasion with a 105-run opening stand, which made the match one-sided. The two openers had faced a lot of scrutiny throughout the tournament for their form and lack of runs at the top of the order but they did shut their detractors with their performance.
However, in the semifinal also luck played its part, with New Zealand missing their chances in the field with dropped catches and missed run-out opportunities. So, it has been a journey of excitement, disappointments, fortunes swinging both ways, resurgence and the ever-so constant mercurial Pakistani performance. A script made in heaven, does Pakistan have it in them to lift their second T20 WC trophy and make it a superhit blockbuster on Sunday, November 13?
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