Australia Win Vb Final

Pakistan slumped to defeat by 31 runs at the prowess Australia, against quality pace bowling as they set out to chase a moderate score of 240 for victory. A player for the occasion, Glenn McGrath stepped up for the Aussies and took 5 wickets for 27 to crush Pakistani hopes at strategic points.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat first at the SCG. Adam Gilchrist was quickly into stride, pasting Naved-ul-Hasan to all parts of the ground for a quickfire 40 off 30 balls. The powerful left-hander struck 6 fours and 1 six and looked extremely dangerous whilst starring in a partnership of 55 for the first wicket with Michael Clarke.

His lone six was under unfortunate circumstances from the view point of Pakistan, as Shahid Afridi misjudged a skied hook shot and just managed to get his hands to the ball at deep square leg, as it sailed over the ropes.

The entry of Razzaq into the attack brought a clear measure of control previously lacking by Pakistan. He dismissed Adam Gilchrist driving on the up in a wicket-maiden first up, then bowled another maiden at Ricky Ponting the over after. Unlike his previous performances in the series, Michael Clarke never really looked in prime touch. He and Ricky Ponting put on a steady 63 runs for the second wicket, taking 16 overs to do so.

Clarke met his downfall against the spin of Mohammed Hafeez, bowled for 38. Captain Ponting (41) was next out, lofting Afridi to extra cover where his opposite number held the catch.

The quick wickets of Lehmann (6) and Katich (5), the latter run out, set Australia back considerably and the Pakistanis were on top. However, a partnership between Damien Martyn (43) and Shane Watson (21) lifted the score from 166/5 to 203/6 at the departure of the former. From that score after 44.2 overs, Hogg (13) and Lee (14) contributed alongside Watson to push on to 239/9 at the end of 50.

In an unusal occurrence, Razzaq was ordered out of the attack in the 49th over, after bowling his second beamer of the match. Azhar Mahmood thus registered 5 balls in the innings.

Figuring themselves to be in with a genuine chance, Pakistan started relatively cautiously against some expectedly disciplined bowling from Australia. Lee worked up impressive pace, whilst McGrath plugged away with accuracy. The quality of seam bowling soon forced a break, with Taufeeq Umar (3) skying a hook shot off Lee to McGrath in the deep – 13/1.

Kamran Akmal went next, caught behind off McGrath for 12, then Mohammed Hafeez was caught cutting to Clarke at short point for 6. Inzamam-ul-Haq marked his guard with his team in crisis at 38/3. Always sensing the worthiness of opponent, McGrath pushed sustenance further out of reach of Pakistan, having Inzamam LBW for a duck.

Yousuf Youhana was made to call upon his rich vein of form and carry the Pakistani batting again. He and Malik (14) added 36, but Brad Hogg then struck to account for the latter. Youhana got to 50 from 52 balls and Pakistan closed in on their team century.

Alas the crucial wicket fell at 97, Yousuf Youhana bowled by Hogg for 51. This left the tourists with a lot of work to do and the big-hitting merchants Abdur Razzaq and Shahid Afridi to do it.

The partnership between the two was one of contrast and Afridi’s was the wicket to break it. By that time a further 36 runs had been added in 5 overs, and Afridi scored 31 of them off 21 balls. He hit two sixes off Hogg and a boundary and attempted to literally swing the game back Pakistan’s way.

Ultimately the push toward glory was ended via the run out route, Lee the fielder. Razzaq remained at the crease though and sought to ease on with the tail. When he lost the company of Azhar Mahmood (13), it was 153/8 and 87 runs were still needed off 95 balls.

Razzaq inspired an increase in momentum with a personal advance to 43 off 54 balls upon his demise. Just looking like stealing the game away from Australia, that man McGrath bounded back into the picture to get him. Razzaq gave himself room and look to smash the ball over cover, but only succeeded in edging to Gilchrist behind the wicket – 201/9.

Visibly annoyed with himself, Razzaq knew the game was over. Glenn McGrath then confirmed it by bowling Rana for 19 to finish on 208.

The Australian victory sealed a 2-0 result in the best of three VB Series final and yet another triumph for the home team. For his efforts in the game, McGrath was the obvious choice for Man of the Match, but Brett Lee took the honours for the Man of the Series.

Score Summary:

Australia innings 239/9 (50 overs)
DR Martyn 43 (60), RT Ponting 41 (61), AC Gilchrist 40 (30)
Shahid Afridi 2/38 (10), Abdur Razzaq 2/51 (9.5), Naved-ul-Hasan 2/69 (10)

Pakistan innings 208 ao (45.4 overs)
Yousuf Youhana 51 (57), Abdur Razzaq 43 (58), Shahid Afridi 31 (21)
GD McGrath 5/27 (7.4), GB Hogg 2/63 (10)

Result: Australia won by 31 runs
Series: Australia 2-0 winners
Man of the Match: GD McGrath (Aus)
Man of the Series: B Lee (Aus)

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