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Afridi's best helps Pakistan beat Australia

Shahid Afridi returned career-best bowling figures and then contributed with the bat to anchor Pakistan's four-wicket win over Australia in the first day-night international in Dubai.

cricket Updated: Apr 23, 2009 11:01 IST
AFP
Afridi's best helps Pakistan beat Australia

Shahid Afridi returned career-best bowling figures and then contributed with the bat to anchor Pakistan's four-wicket win over Australia in the first day-night international in Dubai.

The 29-year-old exposed Australia's frailties against spin with 6-38 to help Pakistan bundle their opponents out for a paltry 168 before hitting a whirlwind 24 to help the team chase down the target in 44.1 overs on Wednesday night.

The victory, only Pakistan's second in their last 11 matches against Australia, gave them a 1-0 lead in the five-match one-day series.

Pakistan made heavy weather of the modest run-chase as they lost opener Salman Butt (five) and captain Younus Khan (11) before Kamran Akmal (48) and Misbah-ul-Haq with an unbeaten 30 avoided any further hiccups.

Akmal hit nine boundaries during his 62-ball knock, while Afridi notched five boundaries during his 16-ball stay but Australia made regular inroads, dismissing Shoaib Malik (24) and Nasir Jamshed (nine) to keep a check.

Afridi hit two boundaries off Stuart Clark and then took 16 off a Ben Hilfenhaus over before holing out at mid-on to the same bowler.

At 6-152, it looked either way, but Haq kept his cool as Gul (eight not out) hit the winning boundary.

Pakistan captain Younus praised Afridi for his brilliant bowling.

"It was fantastic team effort," said Younus. "The fast bowlers did well to check the openers and then Afridi and Saeed Ajmal bowled very well. We wobbled a bit when batting but its (all's) well that ends well."

Australia captain Michael Clarke blamed poor batting for the loss.

"No excuses, we batted poorly and all credit to their bowlers," said Clarke, standing in for regular captain Ricky Ponting in this series. "We were 70-80 short but it was a good effort to not let Pakistan win until 44 overs."

Earlier, Australia were well placed at 95-1 with opener Brad Haddin (40) and Shane Watson (40) before losing eight wickets for 27 runs as batsmen crumbled on the untested pitch at the new Dubai Stadium which became the 172nd one-day venue.

Afridi's previous best one-day bowling of 5-11 came against Kenya at Birmingham in 2004.

James Hopes, who top-scored with 48 not out, added 46 for the last wicket -- a record against Pakistan in one-dayers -- with Hilfenhaus (four) to give some respectability to the total.