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Cricket fans in Pakistan have their fingers crossed for Australia vs Pakistan semifinal of the T20 World Cup. They can breathe a sigh of relief as Shoiab Malik and Mohammad Rizwan are expected to return on the team to play the semifinal. The players were down with mild flu and missed Wednesday's traning session.
Several hours before the match begins at 7pm Twitter is already on fire.
Numbers have suggested that Pakistan are favourite for today's match (more details below).
Across the border, Indian fans are rooting for Australia after their team was ousted from the tournament. Pakistan defeated India by 10 wickets in their first T20 match in this tournament, precipitating India's downfall.
The Blueshirts could not recover after losing to New Zealand.
Some Indians have taken to their hearts the defeat to Pakistan and eventual ouster from the tournament. They have done little to conceal their ill-will against Pakistan. One of them shared a photo of Shaheen Afridi, wearing a black tea shirt, and captioned it, "Dressed all black for own's funeral, all the best aussies!!!"
"Full support for Australia," many others wrote, sharing pictures of Australian players and memes.
Some Indian were happy that Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik would not be playing. However, their joy proved short-lived.
Update on Shoaib and Rizwan
All-rounder Sohaib Malik and Wicker Keeper Mohammad Rizwan woke up on Wednesday morning with "light flu and low fever". They were tested for Covid-19 but the tests came negative. Officials advised them to miss the training session on Wednesday. However, the players reported back on Thursday morning saying they are now fit to play the semifinal.
A final decision, nevertheless, has not been made yet. A medical penal would review their reports in the afternoon.
Team managers are hopeful of having both players on the team tonight.
The Green-Shirts received special messages from the women cricket team and others this morning in a video posted by Pakistan Cricket Board.
Fans on Twitter have also expressed hope that Pakistan will win not only the semifinal but also the final to be played on Sunday, November 14.
The International Cricket Council has also shared a photo of Pakistan's squad. They deserved to be put on higher pedestal. Pakistan have won their all five matches in the tournament.
Babar Azam's father has said that entire nations was praying to God in sajida for the national team. In an Instagram post he shared a combo of Babar, Saheen, and Rizwan along with couplets by Makhdoom Mohiuddin.
Key statistics on teams
The series of wins in the ongoing tournament have made Pakistan favourite, but a head to head match is expected.
With a few hours remaining in the match, here are some numbers that you should know.
Top scorer at 2021 T20 World Cup: David Warner - 187
Top wicket taker at 2021 T20 World Cup: Adam Zampa - 11
Path to semi-final
Beat South Africa by 5 wickets
Beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets
Lost to England by 8 wickets
Beat Bangladesh by 8 wickets
Beat West Indies by 8 wickets
Top scorer at 2021 T20 World Cup: Babar Azam - 264
Top wicket taker at 2021 T20 World Cup: Haris Rauf - 8
Path to semi-final
Beat India by 10 wickets
Beat New Zealand by 5 wickets
Beat Afghanistan by 5 wickets
Beat Namibia by 45 runs
Beat Scotland by 72 runs
Australia wins: 9
Pakistan wins: 13 (includes one win on super over after tie)
No result: 1
First T20 International meeting
Johannesburg, September 18, 2007
Captain Shoaib Malik (52) and Misbah-ul Haq (66) put on a century partnership as Pakistan stunned Australia by six wickets in the first
Twenty20 meeting between the two sides at the inaugural World Cup
The pair put on 119 off 78 balls for the unbroken fifth wicket to help their team recover from 46-4 and surpass Australia's 164-7 with five balls to spare at the Wanderers.
It was Australia's first appearance at the historic venue since South Africa successfully chased their formidable 434 with one ball to spare in a one-day international in March, 2006.
Pakistan's success was set up by left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir who claimed 3-31.
The Australian innings was marked by just one six from Michael Hussey, who top-scored with 37 off 25 balls.
Hussey and Brad Hodge put on 63 in 40 balls for the fifth wicket to boost the total after Australia were struggling at 92-4 in the 12th.
Last T20 International meeting
Perth, November 8, 2019
Australia routed Pakistan by 10 wickets with 49 balls to spare to clinch the series 2-0.
After restricting the visitors to 106 for eight, openers Aaron Finch (52) and David Warner (48) put Pakistan to the sword.
Australia won the second match in Canberra by seven wickets with the first game in Sydney abandoned due to rain.
"I'm very disappointed, but we lost to a very good team. We've learnt a lot and we want to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again," said skipper Babar Azam who will lead his team again in Dubai on Thursday.
"Finch and Warner were just in a different class."
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (captain), Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.