A defining partnership of 81 runs off 40 balls from Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis took Australia into their second final of the Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai on Thursday.
The Aussies defeated tournament favourites Pakistan by five wickets to set a Tran-Tasman final against New Zealand who are into their maiden final. Australia, meanwhile, are into the second final after 11 years, having previously lost to England in the 2010 edition in the Caribbean.
Put in to bat first, Pakistan rode on gritty knocks from their top three batsmen to reach a challenging 176-4 in 20 overs. Australia made brisk start through David Warner before Pakistan hit back but were undone by a solid partnership from Stoinis and Wade who took their side to 177-5 with six balls to spare.
Pakistan had a dream start when left arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi trapped Aaron Finch leg before wicket in the third delivery sending back the Aussies skipper for a duck.
David Warner, however, kept smashing runs in his 51-run stand with Mitchell Marsh. Shadab Khan then picked up four wickets to stem the run flow that began with the dismissal of Marsh. He also got rid of Steve Smith (five), Warner and Maxwell (seven) as Pakistan clawed back into the game.
Stoinis and Wade then rebuilt the innings and some wayward Pakistani bowling took the Aussies across the finishing line. Australia needed 20 runs from the last 12 deliveries and Wade killed off the game in the penultimate over smacking Afridi for three consecutive deliveries after Hasan Ali had dropped the wicketkeeper batsman.
Wade smashed a 17-ball 41 with four sixes and two fours, while Stoinis was unbeaten on a 31-ball 42 with two fours and two sixes. Warner top scored for the Aussies hitting three sixes and as many fours in his 30-ball 49.
Shadab took 4-26 from four overs for Pakistan. Afridi, who had just given away 14 runs in his first three, was hit for 21 runs in his final over.
The in-form Pakistani pair of Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam had a cautious start adding 71 runs for the first wicket inside 10 overs. Babar made 39 off 34 and fell to leg spinner Adam Zampa after hitting five boundaries.
Rizwan added another 72 runs for the second wicket with Fakhar Zaman and brought his third half century of the tournament. He hit four sixes and three boundaries in a 52-ball 67 before falling to Mitchell Starc.
After Pat Cummins conceded just three runs in the penultimate over accounting for the wicket of Asif Ali, Fakhar gave Pakistan the finishing they wanted hitting Starc for two big sixes in the final over taking his side close to 180.