Pakistan crush NZ to reach T20 WC final

Pakistan's wild Twenty20 World Cup ride will extend to Sunday's final after Babar Azam's return to form helped them to a crushing seven-wicket win over New Zealand at the SCG.

After Shaheen Shah Afridi did the job with the ball to restrict the Black Caps to 4-152, Babar hit 53 and Mohammad Rizwan 57 from 43 to set up the semi-final victory with five balls to spare on Wednesday.

Shaan Masood and Mohammad Haris then helped finish the job after the opening pair's 105-run stand, denying the Black Caps a shot at breaking their World Cup duck.

For Pakistan, their recovery from losing to Zimbabwe early in the tournament is near-on miraculous.

At one stage when they slumped to 4-48 against South Africa last Thursday, WinViz modelling showed Pakistan as only a three per cent chance of making the semi-finals.

But Pakistan recovered to win that game and then watched the Netherlands stun the Proteas to create an opening. They then overcame Bangladesh to qualify.

On Wednesday, they went one step further, dominating New Zealand and entering their first World Cup final since lifting the T20 trophy in 2008.

They will now face the winners of India and England, with the prospect of another sold-out MCG for a clash between the two sub-continent rivals.

"It means a lot," Babar said.

"We have not started well but after the South Africa match we had a hope.

"And after that we have grabbed the opportunity and are playing our best cricket."

They can also enter the final with the belief their best batsman is back in form.

Before Wednesday, Babar had reached double-figures just once in the tournament and had gone at a strike-rate of 61.90.

He was then lucky to even get off the mark, dropped by Black Caps 'keeper Devon Conway on zero when he edged a Trent Boult ball.

But when he drove Lockie Ferguson for four off the first ball he faced from the quick two overs later, he suddenly looked in glorious touch again before eventually perishing in the deep off Boult.

At the other end, Rizwan did most of the heavy hitting.

He cut Boult for four off the first ball of the innings, then helped take 15 off the left-armer's next over to put Pakistan in control.

Earlier, any hopes New Zealand had of setting an imposing target batting first were quickly scuppered by an on-song pace attack led by Shaheen (2-24).

The left-armer trapped the dangerous Finn Allen lbw for four in the first over before later bowling Kane Williamson for 46, ending his fightback and leaving Glenn Phillips (53no) to play a lone hand.

"At the halfway stage we knew we had something to defend," Williamson said.

"But we're a little disappointed with the way we operated.

"Pakistan got away to a great start and got momentum, but we certainly wanted to make them work a lot harder.

"That's the frustrating thing."