Pakistan ended the Super 12s phase of the T20 World Cup with an unblemished record as Shoaib Malik inspired a comprehensive win by 72 runs against Scotland on Sunday.

While Pakistan were already assured of a spot in the semi-finals, where they will face Australia, they maintained their impressive momentum in dominant fashion against a Scotland side that never looked likely to reach the 190 target set by their opponents.

Granted, it took them a little while to really find their groove, with Mohammad Rizwan (15) and Fakhar Zaman (8) falling as Pakistan found themselves with a fairly unimpressive score of 59-2 in the 10th over.

But captain Babar Azam (66) kept things ticking along nicely, while Mohammad Hafeez (31) enjoyed a solid showing as well until he was caught leg-before by Safyaan Sharif (1-41).

It was Malik who stole the show and took Pakistan to another level, however. His unbeaten 54 came from just 18 balls and included seven boundaries including six sixes – it was the quickest half-century in Pakistan's T20 history and the third-fastest ever in the T20 World Cup.

That elevated Pakistan's innings from reasonable to unassailable, with Scotland surely realising they had little hope.

Richie Berrington (54 not out) could at least leave with his head held high, but no one else got more than 17 for the Scots.

While Scotland managed to see out the full 20 overs, they just could not get enough runs on the board against a miserly Pakistan attack.

Malik is the star

A particularly curious aspect of Pakistan's tournament is the fact Malik was a fifth different man of the match from five games, highlighting the spread of quality in the side. But even then, no one would have predicted just how devastating he was going to be here – not that he was getting carried away.

Speaking afterwards, he said: "Yes, I'm in good form but I want to see myself more consistent to help the team." If he produces innings like that on a regular basis, the outcome will be frightening.

Berrington plays with pride

Were it not for Malik's brilliance, Berrington probably would have been man of the match himself. His 54 came from 37 balls and he was Scotland's only hope, with no team-mate managing a strike rate of over 100.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today confirmed that the West Indies Men’s team will play three T20 Internationals (T20I) and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) against Pakistan at the National Stadium in Karachi from December 13 to 22.

The ODI Series will be West Indies fourth series of 12 in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League in which the top seven teams can secure automatic qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India. West Indies currently lie in eighth position out of 13 teams and have the opportunity to move above Pakistan into seventh position.

This will be the West Indies’ first tour of Pakistan since April 2018 when three T20Is were contested. The two-time former World Champions will be playing ODIs in Pakistan for the first time since December 2006.

“Today we have confirmed the details for the West Indies Men’s white-ball tour of Pakistan in December. CWI would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and our own cricket operations, medical and security teams for the work that has gone into the organization of this tour,” said CWI CEO Johnny Grave.

“West Indies and Pakistan have always delivered exciting series and we’re looking forward to visiting Pakistan to complete what has been a hectic and momentous year of cricket in the light of the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The tour starts a new cycle of T20i cricket, building towards next year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia. The ODIs also have great significance as West Indies looks to earn more points towards securing qualification for the ICC Men’s ODI Cricket World Cup in India in 2023.”

According to CWI, independent security advisors, Eastern Star International (ESI) will continue to monitor the security situation in Pakistan, and will also have a representative assigned to the team for the duration of the tour.

Meanwhile, the West Indies Women’s Team is presently in Karachi, Pakistan for three ODIs as part of their final preparations for the upcoming Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers.

Tour Schedule

December 9 – West Indies arrive in Karachi

December 13 – 1st T20I, Karachi

December 14 – 2nd T20I, Karachi

December 16 – 3rd T20I, Karachi

December 18 – 1st ODI, Karachi

December 20 – 2nd ODI, Karachi

December 22 – 3rd ODI, Karachi

 

 

Babar Azam claimed "everything has gone to plan" after Pakistan sealed their T20 World Cup semi-final spot with victory over Namibia on Tuesday.

Captain Babar and Mohammed Rizwan combined for their second 100-opening stand of the tournament, leading Pakistan to 189-2 – the second-highest score in the competition so far.

Namibia – led by David Wiese (43 not out) and George Williams (40) – batted impressively in their response but could still only muster a 45-run loss against the 2009 champions, who have now won all four of their opening games.

Despite a few misdemeanours in the field, Babar was left satisfied with yet another efficient performance from his side as they became the first team to officially confirm their place in the final four.

"It was a different plan today, we wanted that opening partnership to go deep and it worked for us," Babar said at the post-match presentation.

"We then had two good players in [Mohammed] Hafeez and Hasan Ali. They'll be important in the next stage and it was important we ticked those boxes [scoring runs at the end, batting first].

"There was some dew that didn't help with the fielding, but that's not an excuse, we need to be better.

"Everything has gone according to plan. We're looking forward to the semi-finals and playing our cricket with the same intensity."

Pakistan sit on eight points at the top of Group 2, with Afghanistan currently in second on four points.

In Group 1, England have all but qualified with four wins in four games, with South Africa – Pakistan's potential semi-final opponents – on six points in second, two clear of third-placed Australia.

Pakistan made it four wins from four to progress to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup as they eased to a 45-run victory against Namibia in Abu Dhabi.

A 113-run opening stand between Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, their second century partnership of the tournament, laid the foundations for a fourth Super 12 win out of four.

It took Namibia until the 15th over to take their first wicket, with Pakistan captain Babar falling to the bowling of David Wiese for 70 from 49 balls, a third half-century in his four innings.

Rizwan blasted 79 from 50 balls, taking a fierce 24 runs off the final over.  Rizwan's knock paired with a rapid unbeaten 32 from 16 balls from Mohammad Hafeez led Pakistan to 189-2.

Namibia's chase never got going, with Michael van Lingen falling in the second over for just four as Hasan Ali clattered his stumps.

Fellow opener Stephan Baard was able to hit 29 at a run a ball before being run out, while skipper Gerhard Erasmus could only make 15 before he was caught by Shadab Khan.

Craig Williams (40) and Wiese (43 not out) showed some resistance, but the result was never in doubt as the impressive Group 2 leaders advanced to the last four.


Rizwan and Babar on fire

There are numerous ways to win a T20 match but having two openers who can lay such a strong platform always helps.

Rizwan and Babar set the tournament alight with their performance against India in the opening game, and were imperious once again as they dismantled the Namibian attack at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The duo now sit second and third in the rankings for most runs scored in the competition on 199 and 198 respectively. Only England's Jos Buttler (214) has more.

 

A day to forget for Smit

JJ Smit was the unfortunate victim of Rizwan's final-over assault, seeing the first five deliveries smacked to the rope as 24 runs were added from the last six balls.

Smit, who is ranked joint-third in the ICC men's T20i world rankings for all-rounders, ended with figures of 0-50 from his four overs.

He did not fair any better with the bat either, scoring just two from five balls before being caught by Fakhar Zaman off the bowling of Haris Rauf.

The West Indies Women will be guarded by a massive security detail for their upcoming tour of Pakistan with the total security team engaged for the tour expected to be above 800.

The Windies Women arrived in Karachi on Monday, ahead of a three-match ODI series against the hosts.  The tour is part of a reciprocal arrangement after the regional team hosted Pakistan in the Caribbean earlier this year.

International cricket returned to Pakistan in 2019 after a near 10-year absence, following a deadly terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.  Things have, however, not returned to normal with both New Zealand and England pulling out of tours earlier this year, with security concerns being pointed to as an underlying issue. 

With the West Indies Women coming to town, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and country are determined to show the environment is safe for international athletes.  As such a reported 368 commandoes from the Pakistan Police Special Security Unit, including lady commandoes, and 500 personnel of the Security and Emergency Services Division (DIGa) will join other law enforcement agencies to secure the National Stadium Karachi, airport, route, hotels, and other places. 

In addition, a specialized command and control bus will remain deployed around the stadium to monitor the law-and-order situation.  A Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team including women commandos will be on standby at the SSU headquarters to deal with any emergent situation.

Asif Ali produced an inspired cameo as Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by five wickets to maintain their 100 per cent record at the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan left it late in the Group 2 clash in Dubai as they chased their opponents' total of 147-6.

Skipper Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib led the way with 35 each for Afghanistan, who aimed to build on their thumping 130-run win over Scotland on Monday.

The in-form Mohammad Shahzad went for just eight and missed the opportunity to become the first Afghan to reach 2,000 men's T20I runs.

Mohammad Rizwan's eight runs were enough to take him beyond 1,000 in T20 internationals since the start of 2020, however, he fell to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who claimed another wicket after taking five against the Scots.

Captain Babar Azam top-scored with 51 but paid the price for a questionable shot choice as he was bowled by Rashid Khan and Pakistan headed into the penultimate over requiring 24.

Step forward Asif, who produced four thumping sixes from six balls to make it three wins out of three for Pakistan.


Asif delivers again

Afghanistan appeared to be gaining the upper hand when Babar and Shoaib Malik were dismissed within five balls of each other at the end of the 18th over.

But the whole complexion of the contest turned on its head with Asif on strike.

The all-rounder hit 25 from just seven balls and farmed the strike to magnificent effect, producing another devastating display of power after his 12-ball 27 against New Zealand.


Bittersweet for Rashid

After dismissing Babar and Mohammad Hafeez, Rashid took his T20I wicket tally to 101.

He became the fourth player to reach 100 T20I wickets after Lasith Malinga, Shakib Al Hasan and Tim Southee.

Nevertheless, his efforts were not quite enough to give his nation a second successive win.

Virat Kohli will not press the panic button after Pakistan defeated his India side in a 10-wicket thumping at the T20 World Cup.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins but Azam's side prevailed in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

Kohli's 57 – his 29th half-century in the format in which he is the leading run scorer in history (3,216) – guided India to 151-7.

However, India had lost all eight games defending 160 or lower and that trend continued Sunday.

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan combined for a 152-run opening stand, the highest opening partnership against India and the second-highest in the history of the competition, to see Pakistan to a maiden victory over India in the competition.

Yet despite conceding Pakistan outclassed his side, Kohli insisted India would not begin to worry in the early stages of the tournament.

"We did not execute the things that we wanted to but credit is certainly due – they outplayed us today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"When you lose three early it's very difficult to come back, especially when you know the dew is coming. They were very professional with the bat as well. 

"Hitting through the line was not as easy in the first half as it seemed in the Pakistan innings, so when you know the conditions can change, you need 10-20 extra runs. 

"But some quality bowling from Pakistan didn't let us get off the blocks. We're certainly not a team that presses the panic button, it's the start of the tournament, not the end."

Meanwhile, Azam – who is the leading scorer in the last three years of T20I cricket with 1,241 runs – credited Shaheen Afridi's excellent opening bowling spell in which he managed 3-31, while also praising his opening partner Rizwan.

"We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful," Azam said after Kohli had spoken. 

"Shaheen's wickets gave us a lot of confidence and the spinners dominated as well. The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely. 

"This is just the start, we have the confidence to build on now. It will remain match by match for us. 

"The pressure on us wasn't that much - we weren't thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who've been preparing well. 

"When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players came in with a lot of confidence because of that."

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan both scored half-centuries as Pakistan recorded their first ever T20 World Cup win over India with a 10-wicket triumph.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins – the joint longest streak in the competition.

But Shaheen Afridi (3-31) gave his country early hope as he struck twice to remove both Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck and KL Rahul (three), with Hasan Ali (2-44) dismissing Suryakumar Yadav (11) to leave India 36-3 at the end of the powerplay.

However, captain Virat Kohli (57) – who has scored the most runs in men's T20I history (3,216) - responded emphatically as he registered his 29th half-century in the format to lift his side to 151-7 at the end of their 20-over allocation.

Kohli's side had lost all eight T20Is in which they posted a first-innings total under 160 since 2018 and that trend looked set to continue as Azam (68 not out) and Rizwan (79 not out) enjoyed a century opening stand inside 13 overs.

The openers motored on as they managed the highest opening partnership ever against India, Azam taking 40 balls to reach his half-century and Rizwan taking one delivery more before the former sealed victory with 13 balls to spare in their first Super 12 Group 2 game.

India's openers struggle

Rohit, who has hit the second-most sixes in the history of the competition (133), offered India experience at the top of the order but his tournament got off to the worst start as he was removed lbw for a golden duck.

His opening partner, Rahul, did not last much longer as the Punjab Kings captain disappointed following warm-up scores of 51 and 39 after his blistering 98 not out in his final IPL 2021 game.

Magical Azam continues remarkable form

In the last three years, no one has scored more T20I runs than Azam's 1,241. Kohli is second on the list, with 1,050.

The Pakistan leader produced a captain's knock to see his side over the line in a famous victory, perfectly kick-starting their World Cup campaign as he smashed six fours and two maximums for his 68.

Virat Kohli says Hardik Pandya can make a big impact for India as a specialist batsman in the T20 World Cup as "you cannot create overnight" what the India all-rounder brings at number six.

Pandya continues to be troubled by a long-standing back injury but will be in the India side for their first match of the World Cup against fierce rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

India captain Kohli is backing Pandya to deliver with the bat for the tournament favourites despite his lack of runs in the Indian Premier League.

Kohli said: "Honestly, I feel that Hardik presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament.

"We strongly feel that we can make the most of the opportunity at hand until the time he starts bowling, we've considered a couple of other options to chip in for an over or two.

"So, we're not bothered about that at all. What he brings at that number six spot is something you cannot create overnight."

Pakistan have lost all five of their T20 World Cup matches against India - including the final in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007.

Yet Babar Azam's side are on an 11-match T20 winning streak in the United Arab Emirates and the skipper says they can get the better of their biggest rivals in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

Babar said: "We have forgotten what happened in the past and we are trying to focus on the future. We want to use our ability and confidence on the day of the match so that we can get a better result.

"Records are meant to be broken. The matches between Pakistan and India are always full of intensity so we need to perform well in all three departments of the game.

"The boys are excited to play the World Cup and we have a crucial match on Sunday. A winning impact is necessary and then we will go match by match."

West Indies Women are set to tour Pakistan for three One-Day Internationals from November 8 to 14, Cricket West Indies announced Thursday.

Sri Lanka are through to the T20 World Cup Super 12 after a dominant 70-run win over Ireland.

Wanindu Hasaranga's 47-ball 71, along with 61 from Pathum Nissanka, which came from the same amount of deliveries, propelled the 2014 winners to 171-7.

The 172 target proved well beyond Ireland, who were dismissed for 101 with nine balls left, Hasaranga also taking a wicket and bowling a team-high 14 dot balls in a Man of the Match display.

It means Sri Lanka can top Group A with a win over the Netherlands, whose hopes came to an end with defeat to Namibia.

Max O'Dowd hit a 56-ball 70 for Netherlands as they posted 164-4, however, David Wiese's unbeaten 66 ensured Namibia got over the line for a six-wicket win with six balls left.

England are among the tournament favourites and they underlined that status with a 13-run warm-up win over New Zealand in which Jos Buttler delivered a scarcely needed reminder of his class by hitting 11 fours and two maximums for his 73.

Mark Wood (4-23) and Adil Rashid (3-18) impressed with the ball for England, who were runners-up in 2016 to West Indies.

The Windies seemingly have work to do ahead of the Super 12 after a 56-run defeat to Afghanistan, who saw Hazratullah Zazai (56) and Mohammad Shahzad (54) hit half-centuries.

Rassie van der Dussen, meanwhile, looks in ominous form for South Africa, his 51-ball 101 comprising of 10 fours and four maximums as South Africa saw off Pakistan by six wickets.

Sri Lanka eased to a straightforward seven-wicket victory over Namibia in their opening match of the T20 World Cup on Monday.

Namibia were dismissed for just 96 runs after being put into bat first, and Sri Lanka ultimately eclipsed that total as early as the 14th over.

Maheesh Theekshana was a key part of the Sri Lanka attack, taking Stephan Baard on his first delivery, before also claiming the scalps of Zane Green and Jan Frylinck, ending the day at 3-25.

Craig Williams (29) was the only Namibian to get more than 20, though his haul was hardly emphatic given it came off 36 balls and included just two boundaries.

Sri Lanka's innings did not start particularly impressively given they were 26-3 after the first ball of the sixth over, but Avishka Fernando (30 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (42 not out) had a steadying impact as they got them over the line at 100-3.

The day's early Group A match saw Ireland win in similarly comprehensive fashion against the Netherlands, with the bowlers again having the decisive impact during a seven-wicket victory.

Curtis Campher (4-26) incredibly took all four of his wickets in succession to leave the Dutch in disarray, becoming only the third man after Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan to achieve the feat in a T20I, while Mark Adair was even more efficient with figures of 3-9 in his four overs.

Like Campher, Adair's treble came in a row and right at the end as the Netherlands could only set a target of 106.

Paul Stirling (30 not out) kept things ticking over throughout with a professional – if unspectacular – knock, but Gareth Delany (44) top scored for the Irish. By the time he was eventually stopped by Pieter Seelaar's yorker, Ireland only needed another 12 runs.

Elsewhere, several of the tournament favourites were in action in warm-up matches. India beat England by seven wickets with six balls remaining partly down to swift 50s by KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan, while Australia's 159-7 saw them defeat New Zealand with one ball left.

South Africa enjoyed a comfortable 41-run win over Afghanistan and Pakistan defeated the West Indies by seven wickets in a little over 15 overs.

Babar Azam’s half-century for Pakistan helped condemn West Indies to a seven-wicket loss in their first warm-up match in Dubai on Monday.

Five and a half years after the iconic line "Carlos Brathwaite, remember the name" was delivered, England are among the favourites to banish the memories of their T20 World Cup heartbreak.

Ian Bishop delivered those famous words from an Eden Gardens commentary box after watching Brathwaite win the 2016 T20 World Cup for West Indies in dramatic fashion.

Needing 19 off the final over for the Windies to be crowned champions for a record second time in Kolkata, Brathwaite launched Ben Stokes for four huge sixes in as many balls to leave England shell-shocked.

It remains to be seen who will make a name for themselves in the 2021 showpiece, which could not be staged in Australia last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and was then moved from India to the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Stats Perform pick out the contenders and key players ahead of a cricketing extravaganza that will finally get under way when Oman face Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

 

Gayle force to put Wind in champions' sails?

It is 22 years since Chris Gayle made his Windies debut, so there will be no need for a "remember the name" if the left-handed opener cuts loose.

Powerhouse Gayle cut short his latest Indian Premier League spell with Punjab Kings due to bubble fatigue to ensure he would be fresh for the T20 World Cup.

Gayle is the highest run-scorer in T20 history with a staggering 14,276 from 440 innings at an average of 36.79, with 22 centuries and a strike rate of 145.71.

The 42-year-old self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' has proved to be the man for a big occasion time and again and he could produce more fireworks as a talented Windies squad, which does not include Brathwaite, target a hat-trick.

 

England could be Living it up

England won the last major international white-ball tournament on home soil with a dramatic Super Over-defeat of New Zealand in an incredible 2019 World Cup final at Lord's.

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were key to that stunning victory, but they will both be absent as Eoin Morgan attempts to lead England to T20 glory.

Top of the rankings and with the number one T20 batsman in the world in the shape of Dawid Malan, they have every chance of lifting the trophy in Dubai on November 14.

Destructive all-rounder Liam Livingstone can play a huge part, while Tymal Mills will be one to watch over three years after the left-arm paceman's last international appearance.

Kohli desperate to end reign on a high note

Virat Kohli will step down as India captain after the tournament, although the prolific right-hander will continue to play for his country in the shortest format.

Kohli has not won a major ICC trophy as skipper, but this competition represents another huge opportunity to put that unwanted record right.

The highest scorer in international T20 cricket, Kohli could take the World Cup by storm and he will lead a squad packed with firepower both with bat and ball.

Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant are just a few of the other key men for India.

 

Australia to put on 'Big Show'?

Preparation for some of the Australia players has been anything but ideal, having faced a strict lockdown in their homeland.

Yet captain Aaron Finch says they will be ready to go when they face South Africa in their first match of the Super 12 stage on October 23 as he steps up his recovery from knee surgery.

David Warner has been out of sorts, but Finch has backed his fellow opener and Australia have no shortage of potential match-winners in their squad.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell may need to live up to his 'Big Show' nickname if Australia are to lift the trophy.

Black Caps and Pakistan can mount a challenge, outside chance for Proteas

New Zealand celebrated winning the first World Test Championship final this year and they have the armoury for T20 success under the inspirational leadership of Kane Williamson.

Kyle Jamieson and Trent Boult can spearhead a strong attack, while Williamson consistently racks up the runs in all formats and Devon Conway can make his mark.

Much rests on the shoulders of skipper Babar Azam in Pakistan's pursuit of glory, while the likes of Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada will be key for South Africa.

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