Durban: Ageing left-arm spinner Asif Karim claimed three wickets for one run to give Australia a scare before the reigning champions scored a five-wicket win over Kenya in the World Cup here on Saturday.
The 39-year-old lit up the inconsequential Super Sixes match under the Kingsmead lights as Australia, chasing a modest 174-8, slipped from a comfortable 98-1 to 117 for five.
Karim, whose figures at one stage read an incredible 8-6-2-3, dismissed Australian captain Ricky Ponting for 18 and then removed Darren Lehmann and Brad Hogg in one over. But Andrew Symonds (33) and Ian Harvey (28) survived the unexpected setback to see the Australians through in the 32nd over with an unbroken stand of 61 for the sixth wicket.
A hat-trick by Brett Lee and an explosive 67 off 43 balls by Adam Gilchrist had threatened a one-sided contest till Karim came along to temporarily halt the Australian march. Both Australia and Kenya have already qualified for the semi-finals with the Africans due to take on India at the same venue on Thursday.
Australia will play the first semi-final at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday against Sri Lanka, who secured the fourth spot by defeating Zimbabwe by 74 runs earlier on Saturday.
Karim's deadly spell must have left the Australians wondering what awaits them when they face Sri Lanka's star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan on the slow St George's Park wicket.
Earlier, Lee finished with 3-14 while Andy Bichel and Lehmann chipped in with two wickets each after Ponting won the toss and sent Kenya to bat.Lee began the destruction with the fourth ball of his second over when he felled Kennedy Otieno with a rising delivery and the ball dislodged the bails.
lay writhing in pain before he was taken off the field and rushed to hospital where x-rays revealed no fracture but only a bruised elbow.
Next ball, Brijal Patel was snapped up in the slips by Ponting and David Obuya was yorked off the last ball of the over.
It was the first ever hat-trick by an Australian bowler in World Cup history and the second in this tournament following Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas' feat against Bangladesh in the first round.
Down 3-3, Kenya made a remarkable recovery when opener Ravindu Shah and skipper Steve Tikolo added 79 for the fourth wicket. Shah, run out in both his team's earlier Super Six matches, hit six boundaries in his 46 before he holed out in the deep off left-arm spinner Brad Hogg.
Tikolo went on to make his team's top score of 51, finally running into form ahead of the crucial semi-final. Hitesh Modi remained unbeaten on 39, sharing a ninth wicket stand of 30 with Martin Suji, who made 15 not out.
Scorecard of Match 49- Aus vs Ken
Kenyans recover after Lee puts them on back-foot
Speedster Lee picks hat-trick against Kenya