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.