Aussies break Indian hearts
CENTURIAN: Australia limped to a tense two-wicket, last-ball win over Pakistan to top Group A and set up a Champions Trophy semi-final clash against England on Friday.
Put into bat first on a helpful
seaming wicket at Centurion Park, Pakistan, who will face New Zealand in the last four, struggled to 205-6 from 50 overs.
After cruising at 140-2, Australia lost skipper Ricky Ponting (32) and man of the match Mike Hussey (64) as Pakistan took control of the match. But from 187-8, Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz took Australia past the target. The tense win also sealed India's elimination from the competition as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side required rivals Pakistan to beat Ricky Ponting's side.
But after dictating the tempo of the match for 80 overs, with Ponting and Hussey well set at the crease following an 81-run fourth-wicket partnership, Australia crumbled as Pakistan's diverse bowling attack tore holes through the middle order.
Fast bowler Rana Naved was at the heart of Pakistan's resurgence, mixing yorkers and slower deliveries bowling in conjunction with the guile of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, bamboozling Australia's tail with his repertoire of variations.
However, needing 18 from 18 balls, Hauritz eased the pressure with an on-driven four off Rana in the 49th over to take Australia past 200 with four runs required for victory in the final over. Two dot balls heightened the increasing tension around Centurion Park, but the ninth-wicket duo ran a bye from the very last delivery of the match to seal a nerve-wracking victory. Earlier, Pakistan struggled
to 205-6, thanks to Mohammad Yousuf (45), Kamran Akmal (44) and Misbah-ul-Haq (41). Mitchell Johnson took 2-45 and Shane Watson grabbed 2-32 for Australia.