Sharjah: Veteran Shoaib Malik blasted six sixes in an unbeaten 18-ball 54 after Babar Azam’s fourth half-century of the tournament as Pakistan posted 189 for four against Scotland in their final Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup here on Sunday.
Thanks to Malik’s blitz, Pakistan scored 43 runs in the last two overs, including 26 in the final six balls bowled by Chris Greaves. It was tournament’s joint fastest fifty alongside K L Rahul’s 18-ball 50 which also came against Scotland.
Babar, who once again donned the role of the accumulator, became only the third batter to score four half-centuries in a T20 World Cup after former Australia opener Matthew Hayden and India captain Virat Kohli, who achieved the feat in 2007 and 2014 respectively.
Having struggled to 60 for two at the halfway stage, Pakistan got 129 runs in back 10.
Opting to bat first, Babar Mohammad Rizwan were off to a sedate start, as the Scotland bowlers managed to keep the run rate below six until the power play.
Having smoked Bradley Wheal for a gigantic six over deep mid-wicket, Rizwan was dismissed by Hamza Tahir, who drew the batter with a tossed-up delivery before getting an under-edge to the wicketkeeper.
The Scots deserves plaudits for the manner in which they kept a lid on the Pakistan scoring as they ended the power play at 35 for no loss, which became 35 for one in the first ball of the next over with Rizwan’s dismissal.
Even as Babar went along nicely, one-down Fakhar Zaman’s lean run in the tournament continued as the batter ended up giving a catch to Michael Leask while going for a big shot off Greaves.
Pakistan were not so well placed at 60 for two at the halfway stage as Scotland managed to keep their opponents to a run a ball.
However, things changed completely as Pakistan entered the back 10 with both Babar and the veteran Mohammad Hafeez (31 off 19 balls) cutting loose to clear the ropes at regular intervals during a brisk 53-run third-wicket partnership.
Babar was his usual classy self when he played the ball along the ground, but at the same time, he did not hesitate to go over the top, the result of which were three sixes.
After Babar’s dismissal, the show belonged to Malik.