Pak end Aus streak, top group

Published: Sunday, March 20, 2011, 9:59 [IST]
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Colombo, March 19: After putting on a magnificent performance with the ball and in the field to limit Australia to a meagre 176 all out, the Pakistani batsmen held their own against some fiery Aussie bowling to reach home with 4 wickets and 54 balls to spare. Umar Akmal was rightly adjudged Man of the Match for his cool, unbeaten 44 under pressure, while a useful 46 from Asad Shafiq and 31 from Younus Khan also aided the Pakistani cause. Brett Lee was on song, taking 4/28 as he led the Aussie fight back but the support he got from his fellow seamers and spinner Jaosn Krejza was inconsistent. This is Australia's first loss in 35 World Cup matches (scorecard).

Pak end Aus streak, top group

The Pakistani innings began on a shaky note with Kamran Akmal playing an atrocious top-edge off Brett Lee which fortunately went to the fine leg boundary. Mohammad Hafeez tried to calm his nerves by striking a four off Shaun Tait, but in the third over succumbed to Lee's tight line, by giving him a caught and bowled opportunity which a running, leaping bowler accepted with glee. Australia had their opening breakthrough and Pakistan were 13/1 in 2.4 overs.

But Kamran upped the ante, knocking two fours of Mitchell Johnson's first over. However, he was done in by an incredibly fast and straight Lee when the bowler trapped him in front for 23 off 27 balls. Pakistan were 45/2 in 8.4 overs and badly in need of a decent partnership. Asad Shafiq and Younus Khan were equal to the task, taking their side past 50 in the 11th over and pressing ahead confidently.

In the 20th over, Younus smacked Shane Watson for two fours as Pakistan climbed to 92/2. But then Brett Lee returned with a vengeance to effect a double strike. In the 23rd over, he had Younus caught behind and then in a big blow, dismissed Misbah-ul-Haq for a duck in similar fashion. Pakistan were wobbling at 98/4.

But then Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq weathered the storm admirably, taking Pakistan past 100 in the 24th over and pushing for ones and twos while also striking boundaries regularly. Just when it looked like the batting duo had settled down, Johnson returned to remove Shafiq for 46 and Pakistan were in some bother at 138/5 in 32 overs.

But Umar continued to show a fine maturity of character and led the counter-offensive, even after his captain Shahid Afridi played an irresponsibly fatal shot off off-spinner Jason Krejza to be caught by Lee at long on for 2. At 143/6, Abdul Razzaq joined a solid Umar who kept on defying the Pakistani bowlers.

Abdul Razzaq ran a single of Krejza in the 36th over to bring up Pakistan's 150 and the two made the last stretch from there even though Lee threatened to pull things back. Razzaq bludgeoned two fours off Krejza to finish off the match in the 41st over as Pakistan had got home by 4 wickets with 54 balls remaining.

Oneindia Cricket

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