Aussies celebrate after Pakistan's final shocker
Imran Nazir will never forget the last over at the 2010 Karp Group/PC Jeweller Hong Kong Sixes. He bowled it to hand Australia their first Cup title.
What was supposed to be a straightforward task of bowling eight deliveries turned into a nightmare as Australia pulled off an amazing last-ball victory after Nazir conceded 46 runs, including a wide which went for four from his final delivery.
It left him inconsolable and in tears. Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik bravely tried to brush aside disappointment by saying these quirks are commonplace in cricket.
'This is the game,' shrugged Malik as his counterpart David Warner lifted the winners' cheque of US$55,000. It must have been galling to watch for Pakistan had been in the box seat until that final over.
Chasing 133 for victory, Australia trailed by 46 runs with one over to go. Nazir, a seasoned campaigner for Pakistan in all forms of the game, was handed the ball.
A right-arm leg-spinner, Nazir has hardly turned his arm in either the one-day (79 internationals) or Twenty20 versions (16 outings) for his country, but in this format, he had to bowl. Instead of just concentrating on line, he tried to bowl too fast sending down a no-ball and three wides, which accounted for 16 of the 46 runs.
It meant David Warner and Ryan Carters had to only score 30 runs off the bat from eight legitimate deliveries. And it was a much easier task than trying to score 46 runs.
'It is cricket. We knew we always had a chance if we backed ourselves,' Warner said. 'Mother Nature and God seemed to be on our side with a few wides and stuff.'
Warner, ignored by the Australian selectors for the one-day series against Sri Lanka at home, was drafted in as a last-minute replacement for Daniel Christian and the left-handed batsman came good in the final as he led the way with an unbeaten 35.
But his biggest contribution was in the field. Taking on the gloves, he was responsible for a catch and two run outs which left Pakistan in a bit of bother.
However, feisty teenager Ahmed Shehzad was more than equal to the task as he became the highest scorer in the history of the tournament with a magnificent knock of 92 which included eight sixes and nine fours.
Shehzad's lone hand was even more significant as he was the last man standing with 12 deliveries left and the Pakistan score on 100. He single-handedly added 32 valuable runs which seemingly gave Pakistan a winning total.
And with 46 runs needed from the last over, Shehzad's knock took on even more important proportions. But it was all in vain as Nazir's implosion gave the title to Australia. 'We always knew we were in it,' Warner said.
Under the revised format after yesterday's rain-affected fixture, crowd favourites England and India were dumped out of the competition after finishing bottom of their groups. Third-placed teams Hong Kong and New Zealand advanced directly to the Plate final, with the hosts' 77 all out proving no match for the Kiwis, who finished with 79 for one.
'Things didn't go our way today. But these things happen in cricket,' said Irfan Ahmed.
Australia edged past Sri Lanka by one run in the semi-finals to book their berth in the final. Pakistan had beaten South Africa in comprehensive fashion to also make it through to the final - the four-time winners coming up against Australia, searching for their first victory.