Australia qualify despite loss, SA out
Australia qualified for the semifinals of the ICC World T20, despite losing by 32 runs to Pakistan in Colombo on Tuesday.
Full Scorecard: Australia v Pakistan
Having been set 150 to win, Australia battled against Pakistan’s spin wizardry, but thanks to a fine partnership between Michael Hussey and Matthew Wade, managed to qualify.
Their loss, however, means that South Africa have been knocked out before even playing their final match of the Super Eights. After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Australia got an early breakthrough thanks to Mitchell Starc trapping Mohammed Hafeez leg-before in the second over.
Imran Nazir, who hit 72 against Bangladesh, was dismissed for 14 just a few overs later when he went chasing a full toss from Shane Watson and lobbed the ball to mid-off where George Bailey took a good catch.
Pakistan continued to progress slowly and at 49-2, Australia looked in firm control, but Kamran Akmal and Nasir Jamshed combined for a 79-run partnership, Jamshed looking particularly impressive as he raced to 51 off just 41 balls, swinging the odds back in Pakistan’s favour.
It was Xavier Doherty who eventually got the breakthrough, dismissing Jamshed for 55 as the batsman went for a six over long on, and ended up being caught by David Warner.
Akmal followed the very next over, after contributing 32 off 26, hitting the ball straight to Cameron White at cover, gifting Starc his second wicket of the innings.
With the score on 108-4, Pakistan still looked in control and thanks to a quick 22 off 17 from Abdul Razzaq, in the team to replace Yasir Arafat, Pakistan made their way to 149-6 in 20 overs.
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Watson, who has been in stellar form for the entire tournament, flopped and fell early on to Raza Hasan, being trapped lbw for just eight.
Warner followed in the next over as Pakistan used spin to stifle the Australian juggernaut.
Australia, who needed to reach 112 in order to ensure qualification for the semifinals, continued to struggle against the spin of Pakistan, and looked in trouble on 65-5.
Hussey and Wade managed to keep Australia's hopes alive, though, and some big hitting from Hussey – including a four and a six consecutively off Shoaib Malik – helped set a foundation for Australia to reach their qualification target.
Pakistan persisted with spin and Hussey continued to dominate with the bat until pace was introduced for the first time in the 18th over. Umar Gul kept things tidy and Australia managed just four runs from the over.
The two combined for a 45-run partnership before Wade was dismissed, clean bowled by Saeed Ajmal in the penultimate over.
Pat Cummins followed off the next ball, as Ajmal continued to dazzle and finished his spell with figures of 4-0-17-3.
Still two runs short of qualifying, Hussey, who brought up his second 50 of the tournament in the previous over, sealed the deal for Australia in the final over, slashing the ball wide of backward point for four as Gul wrapped up the innings and the victory for Pakistan.
AUSTRALIA: SR Watson, DA Warner, MEK Hussey, GJ Bailey (capt), CL White, GJ Maxwell, MS Wade (wk), GB Hogg, PJ Cummins, MA Starc, XJ Doherty
PAKISTAN: Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wk), Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan