KARACHI: In one of the most remarkable comebacks in World Twenty20 history, Michael Hussey broke millions of Pakistani hearts as they watched him hit a massive six off the penultimate ball to secure a final showdown with England on Sunday.
“We perhaps lost it in the last over,” aptly summed up Pakistan’s captain Shahid Afridi in the post-match presentation, “but [Saeed] Ajmal has bowled really well in this tournament. It was a very good total. But White and Hussey played a very mature and good inning.” The Australian captain couldn’t agree more. “Michael Hussey is an absolute freak,” said Michael Clarke, who won the toss and elected to field first. “Once Cameron got out I thought It was going to be really tough but with Hussey in you never know.”
Australia chased Pakistan’s massive total of 191 runs thanks to a last-man-standing performance worth 60 runs off 24 balls by Hussey and a stubborn 43 off 31 by Cameron White, coming back from being cornered into what looked like a batting collapse at 105-5. Under pressure from the start, Australia couldn’t keep their top order together as Muhammad Aamer tore through the opening line-up early, finishing off David Warner for a duck and Shane Watson for just 16 runs and things only seemed to get better for Pakistan as wicket after wicket fell and the pressure piled onto the Aussies.
At one point they were 4-62 when Clarke was dismissed by his Pakistani counterpart Shahid Afridi with help from some quick work by Kamran Akmal behind the stumps, who also starred with the bat and, together with his brother, put 106 up on the board, both scoring half-centuries. But White and Hussey came back strong with much needed boundaries and in an epic last over that required 18 for victory, Hussey hit Saeed Ajmal for sixes on the second and third balls, a four on the fourth to level the scores and a six on the fifth for the cherry-on-top.
Earlier, when Clarke won the toss and opted to field, Pakistan put the Australian tour behind them and came out with a batting display worthy of champions with the older Akmal and Salman Butt putting up an 82 run opening partnership with number three Umar Akmal surviving all the way to the death. 73 runs came off the last five overs with Umar slogging Mitchell Johson for three sixes in the 18th over.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 15th, 2010