Incredible Aus in final

Men from Down Under score a thrilling three-wicket win over Pak

Incredible Aus in final

Australia’s Mike Hussey pulls one en route to his match-winning unbeaten 23-ball 60 against Pakistan in the semifinals at St Lucia on Friday. AFP

With their slower bowlers spinning a web around the Australian batsmen, Pakistan, defending an imposing 191 for six, might have fancied their chances of a third final in a row after reducing their rivals to 62 for four. But it was not to be.

 Down and seemingly out for the count at this stage, Australians, opting to bowl first on rain-delayed day, found their saviours in Cameron White (43, 31b, 5x6) and Michael Hussey as the favourites lived up to their billing in emphatic fashion. It was billed as the battle between the Aussie pace versus the Pakistani spin. In the end, however, it was a battle between the batsmen. While Pakistani batsmen treated Australian fast bowlers with utter disdain, Aussie willow-wielders dealt with Shahid Afridi’s spinners in the same fashion.

 Needing 70 runs off the last 30 balls, Australia coasted to a stunning victory with Hussey (60, 24b, 3x4, 6x6) producing a blinder of an innings as Australia replied with 197 for seven in 19.5 overs. With 18 required off the last over, Hussey slammed off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for three sixes to take Australia to remarkable win here at the Beausejour Cricket Ground on Friday.

Pakistan’s innings was defined by two Akmal siblings, Kamran (50, 34b, 6x4, 2x6) and Umar (56 n.o., 35b, 2x4, 4x6). While Kamran provided the momentum with a blistering half-century at the top of the order, Umar finished the innings with a flourish stroking his way to an even more impressive knock. In pursuit of the second highest total of the tournament, Australia got off to disastrous start losing opener David Warner off the second ball of their chase. Shane Watson and Brad Haddin went on the counter attack but it didn’t last long. Soon they were 62 for four and and it was clear which way the match was heading until Hussey dished out a blinder.

For the first time in the tournament, Australian bowlers were handed such a severe punishment. It appeared as though they were caught napping by the aggression showed by the Pakistani batsmen. The first two overs had gone on expected lines.

Cranking up speeds at around 145 kmph right from the word go, Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait gave little scope for Kamran and Salman Butt to get off the block. Between them, the pacemen had conceded just three runs in the first couple of overs. However, Butt went after Nannes slamming him for two fours and as if taking a cue from his partner, Kamran got stuck into Tait in the next over striking the erratic quick to the fence thrice.

 Once Kamran took charge, Butt decided to step back and watch the right-hander hammer the Aussie bowlers all over the park. He took his chances, but the fortune favoured the brave batsman. Dropped on 16 by stumper Haddin off Steven Smith, Kamran made the Aussies pay dearly for the lapse. From 33 off 27, the 28-year-old batsman raced to his fifty taking 17 runs off Watson’s third over. He fell immediately, but his dismissal brought more misery to Australians. Umar, more gifted than his older brother, had spelt South Africa’s doom with sparkling half-century in the Super Eight stage and the 19-year-old treated the Aussies with the same brazenness which was typified by the utter disdain he had for Mitchell Johnson. The youngster sent the left-arm seamer soaring over the fence thrice in the 18th over milking 24 runs.  But Pakistani bowlers proved even more profligate as Australia snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

SCORE BOARD

PAKISTAN

K Akmal c Warner b Johnson    50
(34b, 6x4, 2x6)
Butt c Warner b Smith    32
(30b, 4x4)
 U Akmal (n,o)    56
(35b, 2x4, 4x6)
Afridi c Haddin b D Hussey    8
(9b)
 Latif c Warner b Nannes    13
(6b, 1x4, 1x6)
 Razzaq (run out)    12
(7b, 1x4)
 Misbah (run out)    0
(0b)
Extras (B-10, LB-1, W-9)    20
Total (for 6 wkts, 20 overs)    191
 Fall of wickets: 1-82 (K Akmal), 2-89 (Butt), 3-114 (Afridi), 4-145 (Latif), 5-189 (Razzaq), 6-191 (Misbah).   
 Bowling: Nannes 4-1-32-1 (w-2), Tait 4-0-25-0 (w-2), Johnson 4-0-37-1 (w-1), Watson 2-0-26-0 (w-1), Smith 2-0-23-1, D Hussey 3-0-24-1 (w-2), Clarke 1-0-13-0. 

AUSTRALIA

 Warner c U Akmal b Aamer    0
(2b)
 Watson c Rehman b Aamer    16
(9b, 2x4, 1x6)
 Haddin st K Akmal b Rehman    25
(20b, 2x4, 1x6)
 Clarke St K Akmal b Afridi    17
(19b, 2x4)
D Hussey c & b Rehman     13
(9b, 1x6)
White c Hafeez b Aamer     43
(41b, 5x6)
M Hussey (n.o)     60
(23b, 3x4, 6x6)
Smith st K Akmal b Ajmal     5
(4b, 1x4)
Johnson (n.o)     5
(3b, 1x4)
 Extras (LB-7, W-5, NB-1)     13
 Total (for 7 wkts, 19.5 overs)     197.
 Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Warner), 2-26 (Watson), 3-58 (Haddin), 4-62 (Clarke), 5-105 (D Hussey), 6-139 (White), 7-144 (Smith).   
 Bowling: Aamer 4-035-3 (w-3), Razzaq 2-0-22-0, Rehman 4-0-33-2 (nb-1), Ajmal 4-0-46-1 (w-1), Afridi 4-0-34-1, Mohammad  Hafeez 2-0-20-0. 

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