Saturday, March 19, 2011

World Cup 2011 : Australia vs Pakistan...

In the 2nd game of the day, Pakistan took on Australia. Both having already qualified for the next round, the winner would take the top slot of Group A. Ponting won the toss & decided to bat first on a slow double paced wicket. Pakistan looked a determined lot taking field today. there was spunk & agility & the bowlers were disciplined. Umar Gul started bowling an in form Shane Watson in the 5th over, score reading 12 for 1. The Aussies struggled to score from there on, as wickets tumbled. Barring Haddin, who top scored with 42, Clarke, who got 34, & to a lesser extent Smith, later in the order, no one had the measure of the pitch & the mighty Aussies stuttered for the first time in this tournament. They were finally bowled out for a meagre 176 in 46.3 overs. All the bowlers were amongst wickets, & specially Gul who took 3, & Razzak who scalped 2 were simply superb. In this tournament, the Aussies had escaped against the Lankans with a rain truncated draw & today against a quality bowling attack, the batting simply crumbled.

Pakistan started their run chase cautiously, as Kamran Akmal & Md Hafeez took guard in the middle against Tait & Lee. It was Brett Lee who looked in supreme form & he made life real difficult for the batsmen. First he had Hafeez caught & bowled brilliantly & then later had Kamran LBW to reduce the Pakistani innings to 45 for 2 in the 9th over. With little support from the other end for Lee, Asad Safiq & veteran Younis Khan settled down to stitch a partnership. With the match almost slipping away, Ponting once again brought in Lee & he immediately responded by scalping Younis & the Misbah off successive deliveries, caught behind, as the score slipped to 98 for 4 in the 23rd over. In walked Umar Akmal, the younger brother to Kamran & started stroking from the middle of the bat. Along with Asad, he started to take Pakistan to victory, when again there was a twist & Asad got out in the slips to Johnson. Captain Afridi came in & immediately holed out with an irresponsible shot,  caught by Brett Lee in the deep & Pakistan were again staring into the barrel. The score was 142 for 6 in the 33rd over, with another 34 runs to get, as Abdul Razzak came in. Ponting tried his best to psyche the batsmen to commit an error, but Umar Akmal unbeaten with 44 runs & Abdul Razzak unbeaten with 20 runs, after some anxious moments, got Pakistan home with a 4 wicket win. The mighty Aussies had finally lost a game in the World Cup after 34 wins. Very coincidentally, their last loss was again to Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup group matches.
For the Aussies, Brett Lee bowled with venom & spirit as he took 4 wickets for just 28 runs, & pushed Pakistan to the limits. However, with practically no support at the other end, & a low score to defend, he could not prevent the Pakistani batsmen from scripting a historic win.
This win takes Pakistan to the top of the Group A, & they will now play the 4th team from group B.

Man of the Match : Umar Akmal for his unbeaten 44 runs & taking Pakistan to a victory.