x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Pakistan take group A honours after humbling Australia

Pakistan end the winning streak of the defending champions in a inconsequential World Cup clash.

Umar Akmal cuts his way to an important 44 not out as Pakistan survived a few tense moments in their run chase. William West / AFP
Umar Akmal cuts his way to an important 44 not out as Pakistan survived a few tense moments in their run chase. William West / AFP

COLOMBO // Pakistan ended Australia's 34-match unbeaten streak in the World Cup with a tense four-wicket victory, advancing to the quarter-finals atop Group A.

Led by paceman Umar Gul's 3-30, Pakistan dismissed the four-time champions for 176 in 46.4 overs. It was Australia lowest first innings World Cup total since they lost to Pakistan in 1992. And their first loss at the World Cup since a group stage defeat to Pakistan in 1999.

Umar Akmal held his nerve with an unbeaten 44 to guide the 1992 champion to 178-6 in 41 overs after Brett Lee had given Australia a shred of hope with a haul of 4-28.

Pakistan finished the group matches with 10 points. Australia were pushed to third place behind Sri Lanka, with both locked on nine points each.

New Zealand are the fourth quarter-finalist from Group A and will meet Group B leader South Africa in the knockout stage. The rest of the match-ups will be decided after the India-West Indies game tomorrow.

Asad Shafiq's steady 46 and Akmal's mature knock stood up against the four-pronged pace attack to guide Pakistan to victory with nine overs to spare.

Tempers flared early on the field between top scorer Brad Haddin (42) and a few Pakistan players after his captain Ricky Ponting refused to walk when he had clearly got a big edge to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.

Pakistan deservedly won the caught behind decision on referral but not before Haddin exchanged words with Pakistan players as they all awaited the television umpire's decision.

"I knew I hit the ball, but as always I waited for the umpire's decision and he gave me not out," Ponting said. The innings of 176 was unlikely to be enough to win, he said, but he paid tribute to his bowlers.

He refused to blame the wicket, saying "we didn't do ourselves any favors" with the bat. "It was a little inconsistent but the ball came on to the bat pretty well," he said. "We just had a mid-innings collapse when we could have been looking at 240-250."

After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Ponting shared the best partnership for Australia by adding 63 runs for the second wicket with Haddin but the innings never gained momentum.

Pakistan's ploy to give the new ball to leftarm spinner Abdur Rehman worked well on a slow wicket as openers Haddin and Shane Watson (9) struggled to give the innings a quick start.

Watson drove Rehman for a first ball boundary on the on-side before he was bowled by Gul (3-30) off a delivery which swung back into the right-hander and knocked the top of off-stump.

Ponting top edged a four behind the wicketkeeper off leftarmer Wahab Riaz before hitting an exquisite cover drive in the same over.

But Afridi intelligently rotated his bowlers on a slow wicket where it is tough for strokeplayers.

Ponting was shaping up well but needlessly tried to cut offspinner Mohammad Hafeez and got a big edge. South African umpire Marais Erasmus rejected the appeal before Pakistan rightly won on referral.

Haddin appeared to lose his cool in an exchange of words with Pakistan players when he edged Wahab Riaz as Australia slipped to 90-3.

Michael Clarke (34) and Cameroon White (8) tried to resurrect the innings before Australia's middle order collapsed, losing four wickets for 30 runs.

Abdul Razzaq, who was introduced into the attack in the 35th over, clipped the Clarke's bails with an inswinger and also got an edge of Mitchell Johnson (0).

Gul, who went off the field for treatment on his left hamstring after bowling five overs, returned to wrap up the innings by removing Jason Krejza (7) and Brett Lee (5).

Pakistan stuttered in its run-chase briefly when Lee found the shoulder of opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez's (9) bat and then won an lbw decision against Kamran Akmal (23).

Lee returned in the 23rd over and had experienced Younis Khan (31) and Misbah caught behind off successive deliveries before 21-year-old Umar Akmal and Shafiq added 42 runs.

Australia grabbed two more quick wickets for three runs when Watson held onto Shafiq's edge at first slip and Lee caught Afridi at the long on as Pakistan slipped to 142-6 in the 33rd over.

Razzaq (20 not out) survived some nervy moments in a 36-run stand with Umar Akmal, bringing up victory by hitting Krejza for two successive boundaries.

SCORECARD

Australia:
Shane Watson b Gul 9
Brad Haddin c Kamran b Riaz 42
Ricky Ponting c Kamran b Hafeez 19
Michael Clarke b Razzaq 34
Cameron White run out 8
Michael Hussey c Misbah b Rehman 12
Steven Smith b Afridi 25
Mitchell Johnson c Kamran b Razzaq 0
Jason Krejza b Gul 7
Brett Lee c Misbah b Gul 5
Shaun Tait not out 0
Extras: (lb5, w10) 15

Total: (all out; 46.4 overs) 176

Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Watson), 2-75 (Ponting), 3-90 (Haddin), 4-117 (White), 5-134 (Clarke), 6-144 (Hussey), 7-147 (Johnson), 8-169 (Krejza), 9-176 (Smith), 10-176 (Lee)
Bowling: Gul 7.4-1-30-3 (w5), Rehman 10-0-34-1 (w1), Afridi 9-0-34-1 (w1), Riaz 6-0-39-1 (w3), Hafeez 10-0-26-1, Razzaq 4-0-8-2

Pakistan:
Kamran Akmal lbw b Lee 23
Mohammad Hafeez c and b Lee 5
Asad Shafiq c Watson b Johnson 46
Younis Khan c Haddin b Lee 31
Misbah-ul-Haq c Haddin b Lee 0
Umar Akmal not out 44
Shahid Afridi c Lee b Krejza 2
Abdul Razzaq not out 20
Extras: (b2, lb1, w4) 7

Total: (for six wkts; 41 overs) 178

Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Hafeez), 2-45 (Kamran), 3-98 (Younis), 4-98 (Misbah), 5-139 (Shafiq), 6-142 (Afridi)
Bowling: Lee 8-1-28-4, Tait 8-1-37-0 (w3), Johnson 9-1-40-1 (w1), Watson 6-0-26-0, Krejza 10-0-44-1

Result: Pakistan won by four wickets