Aussies through despite Wahab burst


Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Australia will face India in the World Cup semi-finals after a six-wicket win over Pakistan at Adelaide which was not without its uncomfortable moments.

Josh Hazlewood took four for 35 as Pakistan were dismissed for 213 but they had a chance with Australia at 59 for three after Michael Clarke was dismissed.

Clarke’s wicket came amid a hostile spell of fast bowling from Wahab Riaz and the Pakistan left-armer thought he had a third wicket when Shane Watson hooked straight to Rahat Ali at fine leg soon after, only to see his team-mate inexplicably grass the chance.

Rahat’s drop proved to be the turning point as Steve Smith (65) and Watson (64 not out) put on 89 before some big-hitting from Glenn Maxwell (44 not out) saw Australia home with 97 balls to spare.

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first, safely chipping their way through the opening overs until Sarfraz Ahmed (10) fell victim to a stunning diving catch at slip from Watson.

Mitchell Starc had provided the delivery but it was Hazlewood who snaffled the second wicket with a delivery that saw Ahmed Shehzad edge to Clarke and exit for five.

Haris Sohail and Misbah-ul-Haq steadied the ship with a flurry of boundaries, the latter carting two big sixes to move Pakistan on to 97 for two heading towards the halfway mark.

Misbah’s bright innings came to an end as he holed out to Aaron Finch for 34 as Maxwell removed the batsman who had twice hit him into the crowd.

Sohail was then gone nine runs short of his half-century as Mitchell Johnson tempted him into a loose drive that edged behind.

The screw continued to turn and Umar Akmal (20) did not help himself with a weak attempt at a slog that Finch pouched to earn Maxwell his second wicket.

The short, square boundaries of the Adelaide Oval soon tricked Pakistan once again. Tempted by Hazlewood’s delivery, Shahid Afridi attempted a pull to deep midwicket but instead found the lurking Finch to fall for a swiftly put-together 23.

Sohaib Maqsood (29) became Hazlewood’s third victim as he hit a reckless shot straight to Johnson at cover while Wahab followed for 16 moments later when he lofted the ball behind for an easy Brad Haddin catch off Starc to leave Pakistan 188 for eight.

Hazlewood struck again in 44th over as Sohail Khan (four) sent the ball high into the air with wicketkeeper Haddin taking a beautiful catch and Ehsan Adil was last to fall for 15, caught by Starc off James Faulkner.

Pakistan would have been pleased to get d anger-man Finch for just two early in Australia’s reply, Sohail trapping him plumb and prompting a wasteful review.

David Warner was next to go for 24 off 23 balls as he wafted at a Wahab ball outside off and only succeeded in finding Rahat at third man.

And Wahab had another key wicket in his next over, bouncing out Clarke for eight as he looped it to Maqsood and Australia were 59 for three.

Wahab was bowling a ferocious spell and induced a top-edged hook from Watson that looked like a certain wicket but Rahat dropped an absolute dolly at fine-leg.

Smith then brought up his 50 off 51 balls with a four and Australia were cruising until Smith fell for 65, lbw to a ball from Ehsan that looked like it may have been heading down leg.

Maxwell was then dropped by Sohail but it was unlikely to make a difference as some big hitting eased Australia home.

Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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