In their World Cup semifinal match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday, Pakistan defeated New Zealand by seven wickets, barely making a mistake as they pretty much controlled the game from beginning to end.
They will face either England or India in the World Cup final as their reward on Sunday. If it turns out to be the former, it will keep them on pace to follow the example set by their successful World Cup run from 30 years ago, when they came back from the brink to defeat the Kiwis in the semifinals and England in the championship game.
They had a terrible day because Babar Azam, who would have preferred to bat, lost the toss and was obliged to field first. Then, their renowned pacer Shaheen Afridi was smashed for a four on the first delivery of the over. But after that, it was all about Pakistan.
Babar and Company excelled in all aspects of the game while the Kiwis came in a distant second, including decision-making and bowling. With a goal of 153, it was anticipated that the out-of-shape duo of Babar and Mohammad Rizwan may have trouble. As the Pakistani openers completely demolished the Kiwi pacers, those worries were swiftly allayed.
After struggling throughout the entire tournament, both of the star openers finally found their game and scored half a century. The two did not stay to the end, but their body of effort was sufficient to allow later hitters to easily lead the team to victory.