Gros Islet: In an unbelievable finish, Mike Hussey snatched a berth in the final for Pakistan in a match-turning 60 not out off 24 balls. Hussey smashed 22 runs in the last four balls of the 20th over to set up a final date with England on Sunday.
Brothers Kamran and Umar Akmal both scored fifties as defending champions Pakistan set Australia an imposing 192 to win their World Twenty20 semi-final here on Friday. In an innings that began with a Dirk Nannes maiden, opener Kamran made exactly 50 before big-hitting younger brother Umar followed up with a blistering 56 not out as Pakistan made 191 for six.
Pakistan, sent in by Australia captain Michael Clarke after rain delayed the scheduled start and threatened to bring the Duckworth-Lewis system, thought to favour the side batting second, into play, made a fine start.
Kamran Akmal and left-hander Salman Butt (32) shared a first-wicket stand of 82 as Australia’s pace trio of Nannes, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson failed to make an early breakthrough. That gave Pakistan the platform to cash in against Australia’s second-string bowlers with all-rounder Shane Watson’s two overs costing 26 runs and leg-spinner Steven Smith conceding 23 from two.
Even Australia’s normally fine fielding became ragged by the end, with usually tidy keeper Brad Haddin conceding 10 byes in an extras total of 20.Nannes’s second over saw the match’s first boundaries when Kamran Akmal, stepping away to leg, lofted him high over the covers.
Next ball Akmal drove Nannes straight down the ground for another four. Butt then twice square cut Tait for two boundaries in as many balls. Akmal then pulled Tait down to
fine leg as 13 runs came in the fourth over.
First change Johnson, like Nannes a left-arm quick, was then carved high over point by Butt.At the end of the six-over powerplay, Pakistan were 40 without loss.
It was then that Clarke turned to Smith and his third ball was edged over short third man for four by Akmal. But a far cleaner strike off the bowler’s fifth delivery saw Akmal clear long-off with a six as Pakistan took 15 runs off the over.
Smith was replaced after an over by Watson but his first ball back was driven for a huge straight six by Akmal.
Akmal, giving himself room, then cover-drove the fifth ball of the over from the all-runder for four and, off the last, cut the medium-pacer for another boundary to complete a fine fifty, his fifth at this level, off just 32 balls with two sixes and six fours.
But Akmal was out for exactly 50 after David Warner, running round from the extra-cover boundary, took a fine diving catch off Johnson.
At the halfway mark Pakistan were well-placed for a large total at 85 for one and it, seemed that, at the very least, this would now be a closer match than the first round group fixture between the side that Australia won by 34 runs on this ground.
After Butt was out, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and Khalid Latif both fell cheaply but it scarcely mattered as 106 runs came in the second 10 overs.
Umar Akmal smashed Johnson for two enormous sixes, the second a crunching pull over midwicket that saw him to fifty in just 32 balls.Should no result at all be possible because of bad weather, Australia will be in the final as they have won more matches at the tournament than Pakistan.
Whoever wins this match will face England, who beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the first semi-final, in Sunday’s final in Barbados.