Babar, Malik lead Pakistan into T20 World Cup semi against Australia

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Pakistan defeated Scotland by 72 runs on the back of magnificent half centuries from Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik on Sunday to set-up a Twenty20 World Cup semi-final clash against Australia.

Skipper Babar scored a polished 47-ball-66 for his 24th fifty in Twenty20 internationals, and his fourth in five matches, while Malik smashed an 18-ball 54 not out as Pakistan posted 189-4 in their 20 overs.

Scotland were never in hunt as they managed 117-6 with Richie Berrington fighting a lone hand during his 37-ball 54 not out with four boundaries and a six.

The victory gave Pakistan five wins in as many games, topping the Group 2 with ten points.

They now face Australia in the second semi-final in Dubai on Thursday.

England will face New Zealand in the first semi-final in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

"Shoaib, the way he finished, the way he showed his experience, that's what he's known for," said Babar of his 39-year-old teammate.

"We'll carry good confidence into the semi-finals and try to play in the same way. Definitely Dubai is one of the best stadiums. As a player if you play in front of a whole crowd that cheers for you, your confidence increases."

Scotland lost skipper Kyle Coetzer (nine), Matthew Cross (five) and George Munsey (17) before they crossed fifty and it was left to Berrington and Micheal Leask (14) to add 46 for the fifth wicket.

But the asking rate continued to mount as spinner Shadab Khan (2-14) kept up the pressure. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali claimed a wicket each.

"I thought we bowled really well today, especially in the powerplay," said Coetzer whose team lost all five Super 12 games but defeated Bangladesh in the qualifying round.

- 'Guys fought hard' -

"When you've got the power in the batting line-up like Pakistan you know that they are going to find the boundaries at some stage, but I thought our guys fought really hard today."

Earlier, Babar had set the platform with another fine knock.

Malik then punished the Scottish attack during his fiery knock comprising six hits over the fence and one boundary, taking 26 off Chris Greaves's last over.

Babar smashed five boundaries and three sixes to become the tournament's highest run scorer, passing England's Jos Buttler's 240 in five matches with 264 in as many games.

He holed out to spinner Greaves in the 18th over as Pakistan lifted the scoring rate, adding 129 in the last ten overs and an incredible 77 in the final five.

Babar and Mohammad Rizwan (15) had put on a slow 35 for the opening stand.

Rizwan, when on five, broke West Indian Chris Gayle's record for most runs in Twenty20 cricket in a calendar year. Rizwan now has 1,676 runs in 41 matches.

Gayle had notched 1,665 in 36 matches in 2015.

Mohammad Hafeez scored a brisk 19-ball 31 with four boundaries and a six.

sh/dj