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Hero Wade feared he’d played last game

Matthew Wade thought he could be playing his last game for Australia before his heroics against Pakistan set up a Twenty20 World Cup final berth against New Zealand.

In a double-sided showing of his complete transformation, Wade helped Australia stabilise from 5-96 before powering them home late alongside Marcus Stoinis.

His final 33 runs came off just eight balls, with his three straight sixes sealing the win with an over to spare in a sign of how he has learnt to score fast outside of the powerplay in the lower order.

But beyond that, Wade is an unlikely member of Australia’s T20 squad.

His days as an Australian player looked over when he was dropped before the 2017-18 Ashes, while he also went three years without an international T20.

He managed to fight his way back into Australia’s side as a specialist bat in all three formats, before recently falling out of the Test XI.

And at age 33 and with that in mind, Wade is now realistic that every series could be his last.

“I was a little bit nervous coming into the game and knowing potentially it could be the last opportunity to represent Australia,” Wade admitted.

“I just wanted to do well and really wanted us to win this game, give us an opportunity to win the whole thing.

“(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.”

Wade joked after Thursday night’s win in Dubai that he’d probably been dropped more than any other Australian player.

But his run to form in the middle order should be enough to ensure he staves off the axe for another year and is part of Australia’s home T20 World Cup campaign next year.

With Australia’s lack of finishers apparent, Wade entered this World Cup with a strike-rate of 94.11 when batting outside the top four, compared to 145.12 in it.

His rate of boundaries had also dropped from one-in-every-five balls to one-in-every-14 when batting fifth or below with no powerplay.

But he has now won two games for Australia alongside Stoinis at No.7.

Part of that has been his willingness to adapt, using ramp shots to open up the field and even winning the game with two of them on Thursday night.

He has also taken up extra net sessions, training on optional days to make up for less time in the middle.

“It’s confidence, I think,” Wade said.

“Confidence in your ability to be able to finish the game. To be able to bat with Marcus has been awesome.

“And it’s communication too. It’s been a lot of fun, trying to keep calm probably the biggest thing towards the back end.”

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