One win can change the whole mood of a nation. And if that win comes in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup, then the celebrations are multiplied.
The same has happened with Pakistan. A team that somehow managed to book a place in the semi-finals with a tight second-place finish in Group 2, is now the first team to get to the finale.
In their previous four encounters, Pakistan first restricted New Zealand to 152/4 on a slow SCG track and then chased down the target with consummate ease, riding on skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan's attacking fifties to book their place in the final after 13 years.
Pakistan will either see England or India - who play on Thursday in Adelaide --in the November 13 final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Building up to that match, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar had a message for India.
"Hindustan, we have reached Melbourne. We are waiting for you. I wish you best of luck that you defeat England and arrive in Melbourne. It was in Melbourne that we defeated England in 1992 final. Now the year is 2022. The years are different but the numbers are same. I want a India-Pakistan final. Let's play one more time. We need one match. The whole world is waiting with baited breath," Shoaib Akhtar said.
Here's the video:
Dear India, good luck for tomorrow. We'll be waiting for you in Melbourne for a great game of cricket. pic.twitter.com/SdBLVYD6vm— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) November 9, 2022
Pakistan last won the title in 2009 at Lord's in England when they defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets, and it has been a rollercoaster ride in Australia to make it to another finale. After losses against India and Zimbabwe in the group stage, they recuperated quickly to beat the Netherlands and South Africa.
Then contrary to all expectations they went through when the South African side were beaten by the Dutch and Pakistan eased past Bangladesh. New Zealand, who topped Group 1, were aiming to make the final for the second consecutive time, but their hunt for a maiden T20 title again fell short.