T20 World Cup: Malik's historic 50 sets the tone as dominant Pakistan set up semi-final with Australia

By Sports Desk November 07, 2021

Pakistan ended the Super 12s phase of the T20 World Cup with an unblemished record as Shoaib Malik inspired a comprehensive win by 72 runs against Scotland on Sunday.

While Pakistan were already assured of a spot in the semi-finals, where they will face Australia, they maintained their impressive momentum in dominant fashion against a Scotland side that never looked likely to reach the 190 target set by their opponents.

Granted, it took them a little while to really find their groove, with Mohammad Rizwan (15) and Fakhar Zaman (8) falling as Pakistan found themselves with a fairly unimpressive score of 59-2 in the 10th over.

But captain Babar Azam (66) kept things ticking along nicely, while Mohammad Hafeez (31) enjoyed a solid showing as well until he was caught leg-before by Safyaan Sharif (1-41).

It was Malik who stole the show and took Pakistan to another level, however. His unbeaten 54 came from just 18 balls and included seven boundaries including six sixes – it was the quickest half-century in Pakistan's T20 history and the third-fastest ever in the T20 World Cup.

That elevated Pakistan's innings from reasonable to unassailable, with Scotland surely realising they had little hope.

Richie Berrington (54 not out) could at least leave with his head held high, but no one else got more than 17 for the Scots.

While Scotland managed to see out the full 20 overs, they just could not get enough runs on the board against a miserly Pakistan attack.

Malik is the star

A particularly curious aspect of Pakistan's tournament is the fact Malik was a fifth different man of the match from five games, highlighting the spread of quality in the side. But even then, no one would have predicted just how devastating he was going to be here – not that he was getting carried away.

Speaking afterwards, he said: "Yes, I'm in good form but I want to see myself more consistent to help the team." If he produces innings like that on a regular basis, the outcome will be frightening.

Berrington plays with pride

Were it not for Malik's brilliance, Berrington probably would have been man of the match himself. His 54 came from 37 balls and he was Scotland's only hope, with no team-mate managing a strike rate of over 100.

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