Pakistan 149-6 (Nasir Jamshed 55) beat
Australia 117-7 (Hussey 54no) by 32 runs
ICC WT20 2012 Super Eight Group 2, Colombo
Report by Chetan Narula in Colombo
Pakistan boosted their chances of qualifying for the 2012 ICC World T20 semi-finals with a 32-run win over Australia in their last Super Eight match at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
The Australians, guided by Michael Hussey's unbeaten half-century, scored 117 for seven in a chase of 150 runs and have thus qualified for the semis themselves.
Australia got off to a poor start in their chase, a first for them, when Shane Watson and David Warner were dismissed very cheaply. Watson (8) failed to reach double digits for the first time in the tournament and so did Warner (8), both falling within eight balls to leave Australia at 19 for two in five overs.
Hussey and skipper George Bailey then stabilised the ship before any further losses came about, adding 25 runs for the third wicket. The only problem was that their partnership came in 27 balls.
Bailey was out LBW to Saeed Ajmal in the 10th over and then Cameron White (12) came in to play a quickfire innings, but he was out foolishly in trying to hoist Shoaib Malik out of the park, having already hit a six off him in the 12th over.
Glenn Maxwell (4) fell nine balls later, to Raza Hasan who finished with two for 14 in four overs, probably triggering a little panic in the Australian camp. However, Mathew Wade steeled their nerves a bit, adding 45 runs for the sixth wicket with Hussey.
It was this partnership that brought Australia closer to the qualifying mark of 112 runs as Hussey and Wade let out a barrage of shots. Hussey hit four fours and one six in all, while Wade hit one four, scoring 13 runs.
Saeed Ajmal returned to take two more wickets, those of Wade and Pat Cummins (0) off his last two deliveries of the match, with Australia still needing two runs off six balls to qualify.
Umar Gul bowled the final over and Hussey smacked him for four to seal a semi-final berth for Australia. Raza was the pick of the bowlers while Mohammad Hafeez (2-22) and Ajmal (3-17) were the other wicket-takers.
Earlier, put in to bat after losing the toss, Pakistan didn’t make a very good start themselves, losing Hafeez (5) off only the seventh ball. Imran Nazir (14) and Nasir Jamshed added 24 runs for the second wicket before Watson chipped in with a wicket.
Jamshed and Kamran Akmal then got together and added 79 runs for the third wicket. The runs came off only 64 balls. Kamran scored 32 runs off 26 balls, with one four and one six. Jamshed went on to complete his half-century, making 55 runs off 46 balls, and holding the innings together. He hit four fours and two sixes and was third out in the 15th over.
Two balls later Kamran also departed, leaving Pakistan staring at trouble on 108 for four in 15.1 overs. Abdul Razzaq, coming into the side for the first time this tournament, had other plans though. He smacked 22 runs off 17 balls, inclusive of two fours and one six, even as Shahid Afridi (4) and Umar Akmal (9 not out) couldn't up the scoring.
Mitchell Starc was the best bowler for Australia with figures of three for 20 as Pakistan finished at 149 for six. It proved enough for victory on the night. But whether it proves enough for semis qualification depends on how India fare against South Africa later in the evening.
© Cricket World 2012
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