World T20: Pakistan stay afloat, beat Australia by 16 runs

  • PTI, Mirpur
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 24, 2014 01:30 IST
  • Umar Gul

    Pakistan's Umar Gul (R) celebrates the wicket of Australia's Nathan Coulter-Nile (L) during their ICC World Twenty20 match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in ...

  • Saeed Ajmal

    Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal (L) celebrates the wicket of Australia's Aaron Finch during the ICC World Twenty20 match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. ...

  • Aaron Finch

    Australia's Aaron Finch (R) reacts after scoring a half-century as captain George Bailey (L) looks on during their ICC World Twenty20 match against Pakistan at ...

  • Glenn Maxwell

    Australia's Glenn Maxwell reacts after scoring a half century during their ICC World Twenty20 match against Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. ...

  • Glenn Maxwell

    Australia's Glenn Maxwell takes the catch to dismiss Pakistan's Umar Akmal during their ICC World Twenty20 match in Dhaka. (AP Photo)

  • Umar Akmal

    Pakistan's Umar Akmal runs between the wickets as Australia's Brad Haddin (R) tries to catch a ball during their ICC World Twenty20 Cup match at ...

  • Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi

    Pakistan's Umar Akmal (R) and Shahid Afridi (L) run between the wickets during the ICC World Twenty20 match against Australia at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket ...

The start was not so promising for Pakistan. They had lost two of their best batsmen, including skipper Mohammad Hafeez. But then the Akmal brothers came to their rescue. Pakistan needed to win the match to stay alive in the tournament. They went on to win by 16 runs in a humdinger of a game that almost proved that 192 was not quite a safe total in these conditions. What Pakistan’s win has also done is it keeps this group of death in the World T20 alive and kicking.

Umar Akmal’s 94 off 54 was the highlight of Pakistan’s innings. Australia’s Glenn Maxwell threatened to overshadow it with a 33-ball 74, an innings that came under similar pressure with Australia losing both David Warner and Shane Watson in the first over. But what came to the fore at the end of the match was the quality of spinners in the Pakistan lineup.

The sudden slump
When Indian Premier League’s million dollar boy Maxwell was dismissed by Shahid Afridi, Australia needed 66 off 50 balls with seven wickets in hand. Any T20 match would be considered over, and Maxwell, who was bought by Kings XI Punjab from Mumbai Indians for `6 crore, would have thought he had done his job.

But not when the opposition has the likes of Saeed Ajmal and Afridi in their bowling armoury. Pakistan squeezed the batsmen and Australia kept losing wickets. From a very professional chase, it became abject surrender. And even though Australia skipper George Bailey said he was not as disappointed by his team’s batting as he was with their fielding, exposing the weakness of most of their batsmen against spin will give India a lot of heart when the two meet next Sunday.

The very best
Umar Akmal’s innings was the best T20 innings for Pakistan. The 23-year-old showed great maturity playing alongside his brother Kamran and at times had a lot of advice for the latter. “That was very comforting. We were batting together for Pakistan after a long time. But more than the batting, it was our bowling, especially our spinners who have helped us stay alive in the tournament,” said Umar.Brief Scores Pakistan 191/5 in 20 overs (U Akmal 94) bt Australia 175/10 in 20 overs (G Maxwell 74, A Finch 65, Babar 2/26)

 

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