Oz in thrilling T20 escape

2010-02-05 14:56

Melbourne - Australia came back from the dead to beat Pakistan by two runs in their only Twenty20 international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday.

Pakistan started the chase confidently, and even though they lost two pairs of wickets in quick succession, Kamran Akmal and his brother Umar looked in control and took the team to within 29 runs of victory.

Meanwhile, Kamran reached his third T20 fifty, but then suffered a slight aberration - after being given a life by Mitchell Johnson on the boundary - when one ball later he hit a Shaun Tait delivery straight to Michael Hussey at mid-on for 64, his highest T20 score.

This proved to be the turning point of the game, giving leggie Steve Smith the opportunity to bag two quick scalps on debut.

Needing 10 off the final over, Umar Akmal was dismissed off the first delivery, and the last two batsmen could only manage seven runs.

Tait's 3/13 came off three spells of incredibly quick and accurate bowling, reaching speeds of well into the 150's.

Earlier, the hosts were dismissed for 127 with eight balls to spare.

Opting to bat first, Australia were never allowed to set the tone as Pakistan's bowlers and fielders kept picking up wickets at regular intervals.

The only batsmen to make any impression were David Warner (22), Michael Clarke (32) and Hussey who was unbeaten on 40 off 31 deliveries.

The T20 world champions, Pakistan, were lead exceptionally well by previously discarded captain Shoaib Malik, who is standing in for the suspended Shahid Afridi.

Australia had a brief glimmer of hope with Warner and Clarke at the crease, but with the fall of the latter's wicket on 68, it was one-way traffic as the hosts proceeded to lose their last eight wickets for 51 runs.

Gul was the pick of the attack with 3/20, but every one chipped in, including Umar Akmal who instigated two of the three run-outs in the innings.


DA Warner, SR Watson, MJ Clarke (captain), DJ Hussey, CL White, TR Birt, BJ Haddin (wk), SPD Smith, MG Johnson, SW Tait, DP Nannes

Kamran Akmal (wk), Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik (captain), Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal