Pakistan qualified for the final of the T20 World Cup after an all-round display against New Zealand on Wednesday, beating the side by 7 wickets in Sydney. Chasing 153 runs to win, Pakistan’s opening duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan made a brilliant return to run-scoring as both scored important fifties, while Mohammad Haris continued on his power-hitting form to steer a successful run-chase in 19.1 overs.

Babar and Rizwan had faced significant criticism over the past few weeks following a series of indifferent performances in the World Cup. It took Babar four innings to breach the double figures in the tournament, while Rizwan also had scores of 4, 14, 49, 4 and 32 in five matches. Additionally, Rizwan’s strike rate had been a point of concern; he scored 49 off 39 deliveries against Netherlands, and took 32 balls for as many runs against Bangladesh.

Also read: India vs England, T20 World Cup semifinal: Who has the most number of wins; check IND vs ENG head-to-head record

However, both batters silenced their critics in style as they added 55 runs in the first six overs of the game, and stitched a 105-run stand to dampen New Zealand’s hopes for a final qualification. Following the game, former Pakistan captain Younis Khan, who had suggested Babar to step down from captaincy roughly a week ago, seemed pleased with the duo’s “intent.”

Interestingly, Younis had kept Babar at no.3 in his playing XI since before the World Cup, and the anchor asked the former Pakistan skipper if he would stick with the same order now.

“Ham India se last match kyun jeete? Ham aaj bhi keh rahe hain ki hamein inse koi problem nahi hai, magar inko intent show karna hai. Aaj agar ham powerplay ki baat kare, 10 over ki baat kare, 80-90 runs lage hue the. Exactly ye hi karna hai. Uska fayda hota hai. (Why did we win against India. I say it today as well, I don’t have any problem with them but they need to show intent. Today, they scored 80-90 runs in the first ten overs. This is exactly what we have to do),” Younis said on ARY News.

“Aapko six overs ke powerplay ko utilise kar lein. Ye kar lein, koi masla nahi hai. Aap agar 40-50-60 karte ho, toh game finish karke aao. Aaj Rizwan out ho gaye, unhone game finish nahi kiya, but tab tak match almost finish ho gaya tha. (You have to utilise the first six overs. Do that, and we have no complaints. If you score 40-50-60, you are expected to finish the game. Yes, Rizwan got out today but the match was almost over at that time),” said Younis further.

When further pressed upon the playing XI question, Younis said, “Ham personal attack kabhi nahi karte. Hamne khud cricket kheli hai, ham fact and figures bata rahe hain. (We don’t make personal attacks. We have played cricket ourselves, we only talk about facts and figures).”

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