Pakistan stun Australia
18 Sep 2007
By: Zac Gelman
Pakistan continued their winning ways today, providing their second upset in just days, toppling tournament favourite Australia by six wickets.
With both sides full of confidence after strong wins in the preceding days, Shoaib Malik won the toss and elected to field. A streaky beginning from the Australian openers saw the in-form Matthew Hayden out in just the second over to the find of the tournament, Sohail Tanvir.
Tanvir has been a great discovery for Pakistan with his quirky action that has confused batsmen all tournament. He had Hayden out at midwicket for just one run after Younis Khan took an excellent catch, continuing his good work from the night before in the field.
The Australians then targeted Mohammad Asif and took 16 off his second over, before Tanvir again made the breakthrough with the wicket of the remaining opener Adam Gilchrist for 24 off 12 delivires, caught at point.
New man in Andrew Symonds, joined his captain Ricky Ponting and put on an effective display of quality hitting, taking 16 off a Tanvir over and another 13 of Shahid Afridi with the Australian total rapidly accumulating at 10 an over.
It took a special over from Afridi to put Pakistan right back in the game. Afridi showed that spin, when used well could be a potent weapon in the shortest format of the game when he had Ponting all over the place and finally Symonds bowled in a brilliant ninth over from the Pakistanis. Symonds departed for 19 off 18 in what was a huge wicket for Pakistan, with the powerful batsmen looking in top form.
Ponting continued to struggle and it wasn't long before Mohammad Hafeez had him bowled for 27 with Pakistan's spinners brining them right back into the game with 4-92 at the beginning of the 12th over.
Brad Hodge and Michael Hussey took their time to consolidate the innings whilst working the singles and minimising the risk in their strokeplay before unleashing towards the final stages of the Australian innings to put on a healthy 63 run partnership before Hussey was caught in the deep off Sohail Tanvir, who had troubled the batsman throughout the over.
Pakistan, led by Umar Gul then proceeded with some magnificent death bowling including some immaculate yorkers that never allowed Australia to cash in at the close of their innings, in the end limping to 7-164 after 20 overs. A disappointing total when 200 was on the cards early on.
In reply, Pakistan's openers got off to a brisk start with the runs coming comfortably with Imran Nazir taking 10 runs off Nathan Bracken's first over including a six and a four.
Stuart Clark, however, made the vital breakthroughs for Australia removing both openers in his first over. He first had Imran Nazir caught at mid-on by Johnson after a failed slog and just balls later had Mohammad Hafeez gone for 15 after a impressive catch from Michael Clark at point.
Clark continued his good work when he had Younis Khan caught at mid-on for four runs in only his next over, leaving the Pakistan top order in tatters. Khan was unable to replicate his good form from the previous night when he scored a quality half century against Sri Lanka in a Man of the Match performance.
Mitchell Johnson got in on the wicket taking act soon afterwards with the scalp of Salaman Butt, who didn't have the best of innings, managing only 11 off 16 balls.
Yet against the flow of play, Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Shoaib Malik put on a calm and intelligent display of batting in a much needed and brilliant partnership, targeting Michael Clarke's part time spinners for 17 in one over, in the process thoroughly showing up Australia's lack of quality fifth bowler option before moving on to the front line bowlers.
Misbah-ul-Haq put on 66 runs from 42 balls in his finest innings to date and Malik lead from the front yet again with 52 from 38 in a superb 119 run partnership that saw their side home with a couple of balls to spare and effectively ensured Pakistan's advancement to the semi-finals, with only Bangladesh to come in their Super 8 matches.
Australia however will now need to fight to stay alive in the tournament, playing Sri Lanka on Thursday. A loss there could see the tournament favourites out of the inaugural competition that has provided plenty of upsets and surprises so far and will no doubt continue to do so as the business end approaches.
Australia 164-7 (20 overs)
Michael Hussey 37, Brad Hodge 36
Sohail Tanvir 3-31, Mohammad Hafeez 1-31
Pakistan 165-4 (19.1 overs)
Misbah-ul-Haq 66, Shoiab Malik 52
Stuart Clark 3-27, Mitchell Johnson 1-28
Pakistan won by six wickets
Cricket Web Man of the Match:
Misbah-ul-HaqDiscuss this news item in the Cricket Web Forums