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Pakistan do it again!

The last time Australia lost a World Cup match was almost 12 years ago. Amol Karhadkarreports. Scorecard

cricket Updated: Mar 20, 2011 09:53 IST
Amol Karhadkar

The last time Australia lost a World Cup match was almost 12 years ago. Since their defeat to Pakistan at Leeds, during the league stage of the 1999 edition, they were unbeaten for a whopping 34 matches, scooping up three straight titles.

The unbeaten streak was broken by the same Men in Green at the R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

After bowling Australia out for 176, Pakistan romped home with four wickets and nine overs to spare.

With 10 points, Pakistan qualified for the quarterfinals as the top team from Group ‘A’. Australia, who finished with nine points, qualified third behind Sri Lanka on the basis of net run rate, while New Zealand finished fourth.

Besides the major record, Australia lost another proud piece of history by losing all 10 wickets.

It was for the first time since the tied semifinal of the 1999 World Cup against South Africa that the four-time world champions were bowled out in a Cup tie.

However, despite a splendid effort by Umar Gul and Co to restrict Australia, after being asked to bowl, Pakistan were in a spot of bother, thanks to Brett Lee.

The fast bowler seemed to have taken a leaf out of Gul and pocketed the first four Pakistan wickets to fall.

Lee, in his second spell, forced senior pros Younis Khan and Misbah ul-Haq to nick successive balls to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, and Pakistan were reduced to 98 for four.

It seemed as if Sri Lanka would finally witness a close game.

In came Umar Akmal, who was recalled to the team in place of opener Ahmed Shehzad after being controversially dropped for the last game for faking an injury, and again showed the world that he is the next big thing from the stables of Pakistan cricket.

Undeterred by the burden of cementing his place and seeing the team to safety, Umar adopted an aggressive approach, something he is most comfortable with.

It worked as he smashed Mitchell Johnson and Jason Krejza for a flurry of boundaries to help Pakistan cross the line.

When Asad Shafiq, who again anchored the innings, and Shahid Afridi fell in quick succession, Pakistan were still 35 runs adrift.

But Umar, in the company of senior partner Abdul Razzaq, maintained his aggressive intent till the latter finished it off with successive boundaries off Krejza.