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The best T20 International ever

Australia required 48 runs from the last three overs. They did it with a ball to spare. Michael Hussey made 44 of these runs. The sequence of his last five balls faced was 4, 6, 6, 4 and 6. It has to be one of the finest Twenty20 ever played on an international stage, writes Ravi Shastri.

india Updated: May 16, 2010 00:11 IST

Australia required 48 runs from the last three overs. They did it with a ball to spare. Michael Hussey made 44 of these runs. The sequence of his last five balls faced was 4, 6, 6, 4 and 6.

He did this against the most impressive of all Pakistan bowlers, Saeed Ajmal. The Twenty20 world cup had just seen a stunner. Interestingly, everyone thought the second semifinal would be a bowlers’ game. Both Pakistan and Australia were studded with the best in the business. Yet the batsmen flourished. Pakistan exceeded themselves with the score they managed. They did most of the things right till those final three overs.

A couple of little moments were decisive. The first one was the role of Cameron White in setting it up for Hussey. He smashed five sixes in his 31-ball stay and gave Australia that slimmest of hope. The second one was that uppish chance at backward point which was missed by Pakistan and it levelled the score.

It has to be one of the finest Twenty20 ever played on an international stage.

Pakistan needed this win for their embattled country. But in a way they didn't deserve it as much as Australia for the latter were the better side in the field. Australia fielded better and ran harder between the wickets. Yes, these little things are still game-changers. Still, Pakistan have to be one of the most consistent teams in T20 cricket. They have now made it to the last four in all three T20 World Cups.

They still produce match-winning bowlers. In Umar Akmal, they have discovered a real jewel. The younger Akmal is blessed with a fox-like ability to target his prey. In a lot many ways, he reminds me of Javed Miandad who knew exactly what he was doing at the crease.

This is an ability which even Michael Hussey possesses. He wasn’t seen much of a six-hitter for most part of his career. Yet he has evolved in the last two years. He is a batsman who keeps extending his boundaries. Sure he hit most of his sixes with his favourite pull shot. Yet, the final one of these was down the ground.