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You are here: Cricket T20 Internationals Pakistan spin Australia into a web to give themselves a good shot at semi spot

Pakistan spin Australia into a web to give themselves a good shot at semi spot

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saeed_ajmalPakistan gave themselves a very competitive shot of making it to the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 by hammering Australia by 32 runs in their last Group 2 game in Colombo on Tuesday. Batting first, Pakistan posted a competitive 149-6 in their 20 overs on the back of a crucial 79 partnership between Nasir Jamshed (55) and Kamran Akmal (32). Australia were woeful in their chase, rescued by veteran superstar Mike Hussey, who made an unbeaten half-century to ensure that they were not pushed behind Pakistan in the net run rate scenario, thereby guaranteeing them a spot in the semi-finals. Pakistan meanwhile would need South Africa to do them a bit of a favour in the game against India later in the day.

Australia won the toss and continued the recent trend of opting to chase in this penultimate Super Eights match against Pakistan. While Australia stuck to their winning combination from the last game, Pakistan opted to recall veteran allrounder Abdul Razzaq for this crunch game, perhaps to strengthen their batting more than anything else, in place of Yasir Arafat.

Pakistan made a sketchy start to their batting effort, recovering from losing Skipper Mohammad Hafeez for 4 and Imran Nazir for 14 to reach 60-2 at the end of 10 overs. Nasir Jamshed, fortunate to be given a life when he was dropped at slip off Mitchell Starc, started dominating the bowling sharing a 50 run stand with Kamran Akmal to which the wicketkeeper batsman contributed 19.

Jamshed and Akmal were soon producing double digit overs with regularity, but the left-hander perished for 55 in the 15th over, caught in the deep off the excellent Xavier Doherty. Australia made it a double blow with the other set batsman Kamran Akmal falling in the next over for 32.

Abdul Razzaq made a quickfire 22 from 17 balls to push Pakistan up to 149-6 in their 20 overs, but the likes of Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik would have no doubt be disappointed at not having had enough balls at their disposal at the end of the innings to make more of an impact.

Pakistan surprised the Aussies by opening with an all spin attack with Mohammad Hafeez and young Raza Hasan sharing the new ball. The move worked with the Australian openers struggling to time the ball on a slow pitch. Both Shane Watson and David Warner fell for 8 to either spinner, and the Aussies found themselves under pressure for the first time in this tournament at 19-2.

Mike Hussey dropped anchor at one end for Australia and batted through the rest of the innings, but failed to get any support whatsoever from the other end. George Bailey (15), Cameron White (12) and Glenn Maxwell (4) fell at regular intervals as Australia found themselves in trouble at 65-5 in the 14th over.

Any thoughts the Aussies might have had of chasing down the imposing Pakistan target had by then long evaporated, and the first order of business was booking their spot in the semi-finals. To achieve that, Australia needed to make sure that they got to 112, and Hussey did the job as usual, sneaking home in the final over, having found the side at 110-7 heading in to it.

Australia were home and dry despite the damning defeat, and it was now Pakistan's turn to sit and watch the India - South Africa game to learn their fate.

Teams:

Australia: Shane Watson, David Warner, Mike Hussey, George Bailey (c), Cameron White, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade (wk), Bradley Hogg, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Xavier Doherty

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (c), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wk), Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan

Mini Scorecard:

Pakistan 149-6 (20 overs, 7.45rpo)
N Jamshed 55 (46) M Starc 3-20
K Akmal 32 (26) S Watson 1-23

Australia 117-7 (20 overs, 5.85rpo)
M Hussey 54 (47) S Ajmal 3-17
G Bailey 15 (12) R Hasan 2-14

Pakistan win by 32 runs

File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20