Pakistan bounce back to beat Australia in World Twenty20
Agence France-Presse in Dhaka
Umar Akmal smashed 94 off 54 balls as Pakistan bounced back after a morale-sapping loss against India to defeat Australia by 16 runs in a World Twenty20 cricket match in Dhaka on Sunday.
Elder brother Kamran Akmal contributed a run-a-ball 31 and Shahid Afridi returned unbeaten on 20 off 11 balls to lift Pakistan to 191-5 after they were sent in to bat.
Australia were bowled out for 175 in reply off the final ball of the match despite a spectacular third-wicket partnership of 118 from 64 balls between Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch.
Maxwell hit 74 off 33 balls with six sixes and seven boundaries, while Finch chipped in with 65 that included two sixes and seven fours.
The pair came together after 35-year-old left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar, who opened the bowling, dismissed David Warner and Shane Watson in the first over to make it 8-2.
Maxwell and Finch launched a brilliant counter-attack to raise Australia’s 100 by the eighth over, with Maxwell contributing 58 off 20 balls.
A relieved Pakistan finally saw Maxwell off in the 12th over when he attempted to sweep Shahid Afridi and holed out to Ahmed Shehzad on the square-leg fence.
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said the plan to attack from the start paid off.
“I think we were a bit defensive against India, but today the boys went out and expressed themselves,” said Hafeez. “Umar Akmal showed his real talent.
“We wanted him to attack and that’s what he did. It is really nice to have a win under our belts. It will give us the confidence for the matches to come.”
Australian skipper George Bailey said poor catching let his team down.
“Batting and bowling can go either way, but fielding was in our hands,” he said. “We’ve set high standards and we didn’t do well.
“Pakistan bowled really well and did not allow us to build the momentum that Maxwell and Finch created.”