Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade has revealed that he was nervous ahead of the semi-final game against Pakistan, as he felt this was his last opportunity to represent his nation. Wade scored 41 not out off 17 balls to help his side beat Pakistan to enter the final of the tournament.
The Aaron Finch-led side won the toss and asked Pakistan to bat first in the second semi-final of the T20 World Cup in Dubai on Thursday. Openers, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan added 71 runs for the first wicket in 10 overs before Azam (39) was dismissed by Adam Zampa. Rizwan (67) and Fakhar Zaman (55*) helped their side post 176/4 at the end of the innings. Mitchell Starc took two wickets while Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa took one apiece.
In reply, Australia lost their first wicket in the first over in the form of Finch. He was trapped lbw by Shaheen Afridi. David Warner and Mitchell Marsh stitched a partnership of 51 runs before Marsh (28) was caught by Asif Ali off the bowling of Shadab Khan. Warner (49) was adjudged caught behind by the on-field umpire, although the replays suggested a gap between bat and ball. Steven Smith (5) and Glenn Maxwell (7) could not create any impact on the game. Matthew Wade came to the crease at the score of 96/5. He joined Marcus Stoinis (40*) as both the batsmen stitched an unbeaten partnership of 81 runs to win the game for their team.
Australia chased down the target in 19 overs. Wade amassed 41 runs in just 17 balls with four sixes and two boundaries including three sixes off Shaheen Afridi after being dropped by Hasan Ali in the penultimate over. In the post-match presser, the 33-year-old said that he wanted to do well for his side.
"I was a little bit nervous coming into the game and knowing potentially it could be the last opportunity to represent Australia," Wade said at the post-match press conference.
"I just wanted to do well and really wanted us to win this game, give us an opportunity to win the whole thing."
The wicket-keeper batsman added that the final against their trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand could also be his final game in international cricket.
“The final might be my last game too. As I've said in the past, I'm comfortable with it. I'm sure when I get the tap on the shoulder, I'll look back on the last three or four years and be proud of the way I could come back," the wicket-keeper added.
Wade was asked whether he was targeting Afridi to which he said no and added that the innings from Marcus Stoinis freed him up a bit.
"We didn't really target him, to be honest. Marcus Stoinis played a terrific innings to be able to get it to a total we started to think could be chaseable toward the end there.
"I think the way he played freed me up to be able to do what I did at the end there. We certainly didn't go into the game targeting. He's a terrific bowler, and I just got lucky tonight, I suppose," Wade said.
Reflecting on his journey, the southpaw said that it is hard to reflect all of a sudden but now he feels he belongs to the international stage.
"It's hard to reflect on tonight so quickly, to be honest. Hasn't sunk in yet. I'm sure when we get back to the hotel and tomorrow morning it will sink in more about how we went about it than what we just had.
"But I'm happy that I got the opportunity to reinvent myself, go away and come back with more confidence and really feel like I belong at the international level now. I reinvented myself into a batsman and all of a sudden now I'm playing as a keeper batsman now batting at 7," the southpaw stated.
The Hobart-born cricketer further added that he is more worried about getting the opportunity to play for his country as he gets older.
"I feel like the older I am, the more eyes wide open I am a little bit more about the opportunity I got. Didn't worry me to go down the order. Hasn't worried me at all whether I captained or not. I am just grasping every opportunity I get, like I spoke about before.
"I don't know when my last game will be. I treat every one like it potentially could be. I'm sure when it's all over, when I get the tap on the shoulder, I'll look back on the last three or four years and be proud of the way I could come back."