Afridi stars as Pakistan reach T20 World Cup semis

Pakistan recover from losses in the opening two matches to reach the last four.

Fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi returned career-best figures of 4-22 to lead Pakistan into the Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals with a five-wicket win over Bangladesh in a do-or-die clash.

Chasing a modest 128 for victory in Adelaide, Pakistan achieved their target with 11 balls to spare and join India in the final four from Group 2.

The match turned into a virtual quarter-final after the Netherlands stunned South Africa in the opening match of the day, a result which put India into the semis. New Zealand and England qualified from Group 1.

Muhammad Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan against Bangladesh with a run-a-ball 32 [Brenton Edwards/AFP]

Man of the match Afridi, who missed the recent Asia Cup due to injury, said: “I have improved. [It was] not easy to come back from injury … but I’m trying my best. As a team, we are very happy. We’ve played great. Bowl in the right areas and fast was the plan.”

Pakistan bounced back from the opening match defeat against India and a shock loss to Zimbabwe – both off the last balls – to outplay South Africa last week.

They had a spring in their step after the shock South Africa loss earlier on Sunday and Afridi struck early as the left-arm quick sent back Litton Das for 10 following Bangladesh’s decision to bat first at the Adelaide Oval.

Najmul Hossain Shanto capitalised on a reprieve when the usually safe Shadab Khan dropped the left-handed batsman on 11 at short extra. The opener went on to top-score with 54 for Bangladesh.

Shadab struck twice on successive balls, with Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan given out lbw. He reviewed the decision and it appeared from replays that the ball grazed the bat before it hit the pad.

But the third umpire upheld the on-field call as Shakib looked stunned, waved his hands and did not want to walk off.

Shakib’s wicket seemed to affect the Bangladesh batters, who suddenly looked out of sorts and managed a below-par total despite an unbeaten 24 from Afif.

In reply, Mohammad Rizwan, who made 32 after he survived a dropped catch on nought, and Babar Azam, who scored 25, put on an opening stand of 57 but Pakistan seemed to lose their way in the middle.

Rizwan fell to fast bowler Ebadot Hossain in the next over as Bangladesh looked to fight back and had Mohammad Nawaz run out on four.

But Mohammad Haris made 31 and put on partnerships including a 29-run stand with Shan Masood, unbeaten on 24, to guide Pakistan into the semi-finals.

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