Babar Azam, Pakistan's captain, has responded cautiously to the possibility of a summit match with archrivals India while Ramiz Raja, the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has taken a playful dig at the team's critics. Pakistan came back from the brink of elimination in Super 12 to defeat New Zealand and unexpectedly storm into the Men's T20 World Cup final.
Babar was questioned over a potential matchup between the two traditional foes in the championship game, with India scheduled to play England in the other semifinal on Thursday. In a dramatic final of the first T20 World Cup in 2007, the two past champions squared off and India prevailed by five runs.
When asked if the two teams will face off again in the final, Babar responded that his team would play brave cricket regardless of its opponent.
He made it clear, though, that India must still uphold their end of the bargain and defeat England in order to go to the championship game.
We are unable to announce at this time who we will face in the championship game, but we promise to give it our all regardless of who it is because we constantly strive to overcome obstacles, and a championship game is inevitably stressful.
During the post-game news conference following his team's 7-wicket victory over New Zealand, Babar said, "When you reach the final, you aim to play courageous cricket. We would look to continue that."
After Shaheen Afridi got figures of 2 for 24 in 4 overs to help restrict New Zealand to a modest total, Mohammad Rizwan, who opened with Babar, slammed 52.
Babar was reserved in his reaction, but Ramiz Raja, the head of the PCB, was not. Few teams in international cricket, he said in a jab at the squad's critics, could have responded to the situation the way this team did. He also reminded the crowd of Pakistan's comparable comeback during the ODI World Cup in 1992 in Australia.
After the game, Raja tweeted, "#PakvsNz A perfect 10! Very few teams in global cricket would have risen to the situation like Pakistan did today. Melbourne here we come again #WC92."
Imran Khan led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 ODI World Cup by defeating England in the championship match. Prior to their T20 World Cup semifinal matchup against New Zealand, Imran Khan had sent a special motivating letter for Babar Azam's team.
In the studios of the media networks they work with during the World Cup, Pakistan's other former cricket players spontaneously performed bhangra in celebration of their country's triumph over New Zealand.
Former stars Shoaib Malik, Wasim Akram, Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis danced their hearts out in a Pakistani TV studios, expressing their joy at the team reaching the final and setting up the possibility of winning their second T20 World Cup title in the 2009 edition in England.