Pakistan rush South Africa clash to book semi-final spot

Pakistan capitalized on the surprise loss to South Africa and pulled off a remarkable turnaround to progress to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup after a five-wicket win over Bangladesh on Sunday.

Heading into the final matches of the group stage, South Africa looked certain to advance from Group 2, but lost 13 points to the Netherlands, meaning the winner of the Pakistan-Bangladesh match at the ‘Adelaide Oval would reach the last four.

Shaheen Shah Afridi played with the ball 4-22 for Pakistan, who lost their opening two World Cup games, as they held off Bangladesh 127-8 before chasing the target with 11 balls to spare.

Mohammad Rizwan (32 out of 32), Mohammad Haris (31 out of 18) and Shan Masood (24* out of 14) contributed to the success of the pursuit, which was far from transparent.

Bangladesh were frustrated after a controversial decision by third referee Langton Rusere who gave captain Shakib Al Hasan LBW for a golden duck as he appeared to kick the ball.

Shakib’s wicket was one of two to fall into Shadab Khan’s after Bangladesh were 70-1 at the 10 mark, looking destined for a much higher scoreline. Flyhalf Najmul Hossain Shanton scored for the Tigers with 54 of 48 balls, but Bangladesh lost their way after being fired 91-4 in the 14th.

Shakib reluctant to walk after questionable call

Shakib’s dismissal was a key moment, and it was controversial, with the Bangladeshi skipper reluctant to walk despite being dropped by both the on-court referee and the third referee.

Bangladesh were expected to throw more than 150 in total at the halfway point, before losing Soumya Sarkar and Shakib in successive deliveries. After receiving LBW, Shakib quickly reconsidered the decision. The replay showed a mark on Ultra Edge coinciding with the path of the ball in front of the bat, but Langton felt that no bat was involved, believing Shakib had instead hit the ground with his bat.

Pakistan advances against all odds

Pakistan’s World Cup seemed over after losing two thrillers in the final to rivals India and lowly Zimbabwe to open their tournament, but they fought back to advance to the semi-finals. It hardly seemed possible after South Africa toppled India last Sunday, but the 2009 champions remain in search of a second title.

It’s all the more staggering that batsman Babar Azam fell short again, scoring 25 of 33, having managed just 39 runs at 7.80 in five games.

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