New Zealand became the first team to qualify for the Semi-Finals in the 2016 T20 world cup held In India. They defeated Pakistan by 22 runs registering their 3rd consecutive win in the world cup, leading the group B and thus qualifying for the semis.
New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first against Pakistan. It was a good first over by Amir but the black caps had no mercy on the green army from the second over itself. Martin Guptil smashed 80 of just 48 balls (10-4’s and 3-6’s) which helped New Zealand to get a destructive start. With Brendon McCullum no more in the side, it was important for Guptil to give his team a good start and he did that. Kiwis were 60 runs at the end of 7 overs and Pakistan was straight under pressure. Pakistani bowlers did manage to stop the batting explosion of NZ for a while grabbing 2 quick wickets and restricting the black caps at 81 with the loss of 2 wickets at the end of 10 overs. But it was hard to keep NZ in control as Corey Anderson and Ross Taylor had decided to finish things in style which helped NZ to finish at 180 with the loss of 5 wickets at the end of 20 overs.
It was a must win game for Pakistan and the pressure was high. With all the strategies and calculations done, in came Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad for Pakistan. The 26 year old Sharjeel Khan did gave the green army a fast start in the powerplay scoring 47 of just 25 balls which helped his side to score 76 for 1 in seven overs. And this was the time when Kane Williamson introduced Ish Sodhi to produce the match defining phase. The young leg spinner did not only took the wicket of the dangerous looking Afridi conceding just 25 runs in his four overs but also created enough pressure which thus lead to the fall of Pakistan. Pakistan needed 52 in 24 balls with six wickets in hand. But Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik could hardly find the gaps, as Pakistan failed to hit a boundary in its last 31 balls and finished on 158 for 5. Brilliant batting from Guptil, pressure building spell from Sodhi and mind blowing athleticism from the black caps took the match away from Pakistan and they secured a place in the semis.
With kiwis leading the group B and making a place in the semis, it is certain that the match between India and Australia will decide the remaining semi final spot.
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