COLOMBO: Pakistan gave themselves a big chance of reaching the World Twenty20 semi-finals Tuesday with a shock 32-run win over Australia, who reached the last four regardless courtesy of their net run rate.
Pakistan made 149-6 after being sent in to bat in the group two Super Eights match at the Premadasa stadium, before a five-man spin attack restricted Australia to 117-7.
Prolific spinner Saeed Ajmal claimed 3-17, but it was 20-year-old Raza Hasan who was declared man of the match for conceding just 14 runs and taking two wickets in four overs of steady left-arm spin.
Both teams ended the Super Eights on four points each, which knocked winless South Africa out of the tournament.
Australia advanced to the semi-finals despite the defeat due to having the best net run-rate in the group. The result left India needing an emphatic win over South Africa later on Tuesday to stop Pakistan's progress.
Sri Lanka and the West Indies have already qualified from group one.
Veteran Mike Hussey was Australia's saviour with an unbeaten 54 off 47 balls as none of the other batsmen managed to cross 15 against the rampaging spinners.
Australia never looked comfortable after their in-form openers, Shane Watson and David Warner, were dismissed by the fifth over with only 19 runs on the board.
Australia, who needed to make 112 or more to qualify, achieved the target when Hussey cut seamer Umar Gul to the fence off the first ball of the final over.
Gul's two overs at the end were the only ones by a seamer as the spinners shared 18 overs between themselves.
Pakistan's innings revolved around left-hander Nasir Jamshed's 55 off 46 balls, which contained four boundaries and two sixes.
After the openers were removed by the sixth over, Jamshed put on 79 off 55 balls for the third wicket with Kamran Akmal, who made 32 before both batsmen were dismissed in the space of three deliveries.
Abdul Razzaq marked his return to the side in place of Yasir Arafat to make 22 from 17 balls. Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc claimed 3-20 for Australia.
Australia: George Bailey (capt), David Warner, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, Michael Hussey, Cameron White, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Abdul Razzaq.
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG) and Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)
View all pictures here.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ