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T20 World Cup: How Pakistan fans were left stunned in Dubai
This was Pakistan’s first T20 loss in the United Arab Emirates since November 2015 and Australia chose just the right time to send that record tumbling. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
By Faras Ghani
12 Nov 2021
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – With a perfect record in the group stages – five wins out of five – Pakistan seemed destined to reach its third T20 World Cup final.
It lost to India in the final of the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007 but won the following edition in 2009.
On Thursday, Fakhar Zaman’s late hitting and a measured innings by Mohammad Rizwan took Pakistan to a respectable total.
In reply, Australia stuttered at regular intervals after losing captain Aaron Finch without scoring in the first over.
It needed 68 runs off the last six overs and Pakistan had one foot in the final already.
The fans in green were planning their arrival at the stadium for Sunday’s final while the heavily outnumbered Australian fans were planning an early exit.
However, a late onslaught led by wicketkeeper-batter Matthew Wade, including three sixes off Shaheen Afridi, dashed Pakistan’s hopes and took Australia into the final where it will take on New Zealand in Dubai on Sunday.
The vociferous crowd, with just a handful of Australian supporters, was left stunned after having enjoyed a dominant Pakistan show for the better part of the evening.
As the flurry of sixes was witnessed off Wade’s bat in the penultimate over of the match, some made an early exit while those left in the stands were left wondering what just hit them.
This was Pakistan’s first T20 loss in the United Arab Emirates since November 2015 and Australia chose just the right time to send that record tumbling.
Pakistan fans started arriving early, hoping to watch the team warm up for the crunch knockout match against Australia. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
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The semi-final attracted not only expats based in the UAE but also cricket fanatics from other parts of the world. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
Pakistan had not lost a T20 match in the UAE since Nov 2015. The "ring of fire" and a massive crowd backing Pakistan provided a perfect setting for the team to extend that record. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
There was plenty to cheer about for Pakistan fans throughout the match – good batting, plenty of boundaries and a flurry of sixes to end the innings. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
Australia fans were clearly outnumbered in the stands but remained confident their team can seal a date with New Zealand for Sunday. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
Australia had to rely on some makeshift fans to applaud its team but it was these fans who stayed behind celebrating after the match. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
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A few Indian fans also made an appearance, having travelled from across the world hoping to see their side in the semi-finals. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
Meanwhile, Pakistan fans made it a point to remind their Indian counterparts of the 10-wicket drubbing handed to Virat Kohli’s team when the two sides met in the opening match of the tournament. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
There were also hopes from young Pakistan fans of a final against New Zealand who pulled out of a tour of Pakistan earlier this year just minutes before the start of the series citing security concerns. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
And it seemed those wishes would come through after Shadab Khan ripped through Australia’s batting lineup to set Pakistan on course for a win. However, Matthew Wade’s late cameo sealed Australia’s progress and Pakistan’s exit, handing the fans in green a disappointing end to their evening. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
For some genuine Australian fans inside the stadium, it provided a steep ascent to stardom. [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]
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