DUBAI: Pakistan crushed Australia by seven wickets in the opening Twenty20 international on Wednesday. Australia were dismissed for 89 in 19.3 overs after being out into bat, their second lowest completed innings in Twenty20 history, only managing three fours, all of which came in the first four overs.
Pakistan made light of their modest target, cruising home in 14.5 overs for the loss of only three wickets. The ease of Pakistan’s win marked them out as one of the favourites for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament which starts in Sri Lanka on Sept. 18.
For Australia, it was a chastening loss just two days after the joy they experienced in winning the one-day international series 2-1. “If there was just one reason why we only made 89 then we would rectify it but hopefully it’s just one bad performance and we’ll try not to repeat it again,” Australia captain George Bailey told reporters.
Pakistan impressed in the field and their spinners once again proved effective at shackling the Australian batsmen. The wickets were shared among the bowlers, with Sohail Tanvir capturing three, spinners Saeed Ajmal, debutant Raza Hassan and captain Mohammed Hafeez two apiece, and Umar Gul one.
“We were very sure about our plans and the bowlers did well to restrict Australia to that total. Our batting and bowling was excellent and the energy (in the field) was good. It’s a great sign for Pakistan cricket,” Hafeez told reporters.
Australia’s total was only 10 runs more than their lowest completed T20 innings. Only three players made double figures for Bailey’s side, opener David Warner (22), Bailey himself with 14 and Cameron White who made 15.
Faced with such a modest target, Pakistan did lose the wickets of Hafeez for 17, miscuing fast bowler Patrick Cummins to midwicket, Nasir Jamshed (10), bowled hitting across the line from Ben Hilfenhaus and Imran Nazir (22) who drilled a full toss from Watson to David Hussey at extra-cover.
But Kamran Akmal (31 not out) and Shoaib Malik (nine not out) showed their experience and eased their side across the line, much to the delight of the thousands of Pakistan fans at the Dubai International Stadium. In contrast to Australia’s innings, the Pakistan batsmen proved hitting boundaries was perfectly possible, striking 11 fours and a six.
Both teams play the second T20 match on September 7.
A slideshow of pictures from the match can be viewed here.