Slick Australia Beat Pakistan Despite Batting Collapse
Australia 191 (Watson 81, D Hussey 53) beat
Pakistan 157 (Misbah-ul-Haq 41, Tait 3-20) by 34 runs
ICC World Twenty20 Group A, Saint Lucia
Australia survived losing five wickets in six balls to beat Pakistan by 34 runs and get their 2010 ICC World Twenty20 campaign off to a brilliant start in Saint Lucia.
After they went from 181 for four to 191 all out, they bowled and fielded superbly to dismiss Pakistan for 157 in reply with pace bowlers Shaun Tait and Dirk Nannes both taking three wickets.
Man of the match Shane Watson looked on course to become the second centurion of the day before he was trapped in front by Saeed Ajmal for 81 in 49 balls with seven fours and four sixes and he shared a stand worth 98 with David Hussey for the fourth wicket.
Hussey hammered five maximums on his way to 53 in 29 deliveries to put Australia on course for a winning score before a late rally from Pakistan gave them some hope of chasing down 192 to win.
Mohammad Aamer took two wickets in two balls at the start of the final over to dismiss Brad Haddin (1) and Mitchell Johnson (0) before Mike Hussey (17) and Steven Smith (0) were run out. A dot ball from the fifth was followed by Tait being bowled by Aamer, who finished with figures of three for 23 while Ajmal returned three for 34.
The wickets continued to tumble as after Dirk Nannes delivered a wide, Kamran Akmal fell to the first legal ball of the run chase when he was caught by Smith.
Salman Butt (15), Mohammad Hafeez (12) and Umar Akmal (18) all made starts before being dismissed by Tait, Johnson and Smith respectively before a 47-run partnership between Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq kept Pakistan fighting.
Afridi bludgeoned a four and two sixes to make 41 in 31 balls and Misbah made a handy 33 in 24 balls but once the pair were out, Afridi bowled by Tait and Misbah caught in the deep, the game was pretty much over as Pakistan, despite the best efforts of Abdul Razzaq (1) and Fawad Alam (16) they lacked the lower-order firepower to stay in the hunt.
Australia fielded superbly, not dropping a thing, whereas Pakistan had earlier offered Watson a couple of chances and Tait rounded off a fine performance with figures of three for 20 while Nannes took three for 41.
Both sides will progress to the Super Eights if Australia beat Bangladesh on 5th May.
© Cricket World 2010