Pakistan register facile victory
Australia march to semifinals from Group 2 despite a big 32-run defeat to Asian giants
The inadequacies of the Australian middle-order came to the fore in telling fashion as a resurgent Pakistan inflicted the first defeat on the men from Down Under in this edition of the World T20.
The 32-run defeat, however, wasn’t big enough to stop Australia from becoming the first team to enter semifinals from Group 2 here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.
Chasing Pakistan’s challenging 149/6, built on Nasir Jamshed’s 55 (46b, 4x4, 2x6), Australia failed miserably the test of myriad spinners to limp to 117/7, managing just five more runs than they needed to make the last-four cut irrespective of the outcome of the match between India and South Africa. Pakistan, too, strengthened their chances of progressing further in the tournament, leaving India with all the running to do.
Australia had ridden a crest of wave on Shane Watson’s all-round show, particularly on his batting. While David Warner was always going to be a lottery, Watson’s dismissal exposed the frail middle early in the chase. Operating with five spinners, Pakistan spun a web around Australian batsmen whose attempts to sweep their way out of trouble only spelt more trouble.
Only Michael Hussey (54 n.o., 47b, 4x4, 1x6) showed the requisite skills and intelligence to stand up to the guiles of Pakistani spinners. Skipper Mohammad Hafeez (2/22), man of the match Raza Hasan (2/14) and Saeed Ajmal (3/17) cast a spell as the mighty Australian batting imploded in a stunning style. At 65/5 after 13.3 overs, Australia were in real danger of folding up within 112, the required amount of runs to qualify for the semifinals, but the ever-reliable Hussey forged a 45-run partnership with Matthew Wade to place them just two wins away from a maiden World T20 title.
Inserted, Pakistan began on a wrong foot as Hafeez fell in the second over of the match. To be fair to the right-hander though, not many would have survived that Mitchell Starc delivery which sharply swung into him leaving the umpire with the simplest of decisions to make. The left-arm seamer, easily the stand out performer for Australia with the ball, should have had Jamshed in the same over but Glenn Maxwell made a mess of an easy chance in the first slip when the batsman was yet to open his account. Given a reprieve, the stylish southpaw made the Aussies pay for their rare lapse on the field with a sparkling half-century around whichPakistan constructed their competitive total. Imran Nazir was dismissed early again, mistiming a full toss from Watson, but Kamran Akmal held firm in the company of Jamshed. After consolidating the struggling innings, the duo took the fight to the Aussie camp, interspersing some neatly executed drives with huge slogs.
Pat Cummins had employed the short stuff with some major success against India, but the right-arm quick was all over the shop against Pakistani batsmen. Jamshed was particularly severe on the paceman, pulling him over square-leg fence with impunity even as Kamran played a handy second fiddle. Xavier Doherty, who had South Africans in a spin the other day, couldn’t repeat his magic while chinaman bowler Brad Hogg was given little respect.
The left-right combination added 79 runs in 55 balls to haul the innings out of trouble while Abdul Razzaq, playing his first match of the tournament, provided the right flourish towards the end. The right-handed all-rounder struck a 17-ball 22 (2x4, 1x6) as Pakistan, who were exactly 60/2 after 10 overs, collected 89 runs in the remaining half of the innings to provide themselves a chance to fight.
Hafeez lbw Starc††† 4
Nazir c Bailey b Watson††† 14
Jamshed c Warner b Doherty††† 55
(46b, 4x4, 2x6)
K Akmal c White b Starc††† 32
(26b, 1x4, 1x6)
U Akmal (not out)††† 9
Razzaq c Watson b Cummins††† 22
(17b, 2x4, 1x6)
Afridi b Cummins††† 4
Malik (not out)††† 4
Extras (LB-2, W-3)††† 5
Total (for 6 wkts, 20 overs) ††† 149
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Hafeez), 2-29 (Nazir), 3-108 (Jamshed), 4-108 (Kamran), 5-136 (Razzaq), 6-144 (Afridi).
Bowling: Doherty 4-0-27-1 (w-1), Starc 4-0-20-3, Watson 4-0-23-1 (w-1), Cummins 4-0-42-1 (w-1), Maxwell 1-0-6-0, Hogg 3-0-29-0.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 31/2.
Watson lbw Hasan††† 8
Warner lbw Hafeez††† 8
Hussey (not out)††† 54
(47b, 4x4, 1x6)
Bailey lbw Ajmal††† 15
(12b, 1x4, 1x6)
White c Nazir b Hafeez††† 12
Maxwell c Hafeez b Hasan††† 4
Wade b Ajmal††† 13
Cummins lbw Ajmal††† 0
Starc (not out)††† 1
Extras (B-1, W-1)††† 2
Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs)††† 117
Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Watson), 2-19 (Warner), 3-44 (Bailey), 4-58 (White), 5-65 (Maxwell), 6-110 (Wade), 7-110 (Cummins).
Bowling: Hafeez 4-0-22-2, Hasan 4-0-14-2, Ajmal 4-0-17-3 (w-1), Afridi 4-0-33-0, Malik 2-0-19-0, Gul 2-0-11-0. Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 31/2.