ICC World T20 Rivalries: Australia v Pakistan
Michael Hussey’s heist may have ruined Pakistan’s title defence in 2010, but in Asian conditions, it's had the upper hand against Australia
21 March 2016 21:30
Match 1: New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, ICC World T20 2007
Result: Pakistan won by six wickets
Both teams came into this on the back of convincing wins, and knowing that victory would almost guarantee a semifinal spot. Adam Gilchrist’s blistering 12-ball 24 gave Australia the perfect platform, but though four other batsmen went past 20, no one passed 40. Pakistan’s bowlers, led by Sohail Tanvir’s 3 for 31, finished off the innings superbly, taking 3 for 9 off the last 14 balls.
When Stuart Clark struck thrice in his first two overs, Australia seemed in control of proceedings. This was reinforced when Mitchell Johnson dismissed Salman Butt to reduce Pakistan to 46 for 4. That though was the cue for Shoaib Malik, the captain, and the largely unknown Misbah-ul-Haq to come together in a beautifully paced partnership.
They added 50 in 33 balls, 100 in 66, and finished off the game will five balls remaining. Ricky Ponting’s spin gambit paid no dividends at all, as Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke were taken for 44 in just 3.1 overs.
Match 2: Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, ICC World T20 2010
Result: Australia won by 34 runs
Australia dominated this game from start to finish, with muscular hitting setting the tone for a pace onslaught that proved too much for Pakistan, the defending champion, to handle. Shahid Afridi opened the bowling with Mohammad Hafeez at one end, and 17 runs from his second over provided Australia with the early momentum. After David Warner fell for 26, and Michael Clarke, the new captain, for just two, Shane Watson and David Hussey took the game away with some devastating hitting. The duo added 98 in just 8.2 overs, with as many as 28 coming from a Mohammad Sami over.
Watson (81 from 49 balls) and Hussey (53 from 29) fell within three balls of each other, both to Saeed Ajmal, and though as many as five wickets fell in Mohammad Amir’s final over – two of them run out – Australia went into the break with a whopping 191 on the board.
Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson did the rest. Misbah-ul-Haq and Afridi gave Pakistan a glimmer by adding 47, but once Tait returned to bowl Afridi off his pads, the game was as good as up. Nannes was expensive while taking three wickets, but Tait and Johnson were fast, furious and economical. And far too good.
Match 3: Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, ICC World T20 2010 semifinal
Result: Australia won by three wickets
Pakistan will always think of this as the one that got away. When Cameron White fell, after having smacked five sixes in a 31-ball 43 to keep Australia in the hunt, the situation seemed unsalvageable. Four balls later, Steven Smith was stumped off Saeed Ajmal, leaving Australia with just three wickets in hand and 48 runs to get off 17 balls.
Crucially though, they had Michael Hussey in the middle. Two pulled sixes off Shahid Afridi had got him going, and another heave behind square off Ajmal meant that Australia went into the last two overs needing 34. As many as 16 came off Mohammed Amir’s final over, the 19th of the innings, with Hussey paddling fine and then clipping an attempted yorker through midwicket either side of running between the wickets like Bionic Man.
Ajmal had conceded 23 in his first three overs, and Pakistan was still warm favourites when the final countdown began. Not for long though. After Mitchell Johnson did his bit with a single, Hussey went for long-on, midwicket, backward point and long-on again. Six. Six. Four. Six. Game over. The game’s newest format hadn’t seen anything like his 60 in 24 balls.
A huge Pakistan total had been built on a sprightly opening partnership of 82, and punishing half-centuries from the two Akmal brothers, Kamran and Umar. Kamran’s 34-ball 50 provided the platform, and Umar then slugged three sixes in a Johnson over as Pakistan rattled off 46 from the last three overs. But for Hussey, who his captain, Michael Clarke, called a “freak” – with some justification – the eventual total of 191 would have been more than enough.
Match 4: Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, 2012 ICC World T20
Result: Pakistan won by 32 runs
On a slow, turning track, Pakistan’s slow bowlers boa-constricted Australia’s batsmen to put themselves on the verge of semifinal qualification, which was confirmed a few hours later when India failed to defeat South Africa by a big enough margin. Australia, who had won its previous two group matches, also progressed as group winners.
Pakistan’s modest total was built around a classy 46-ball 55 from Nasir Jamshed, who added 79 with Kamran Akmal (32), before Abdul Razzaq provided a final flourish. Australia’s three slow bowlers had combined for 1 for 62 in eight overs. It was a very different story once Mohammad Hafeez opened the bowling with himself and Raza Hasan. David Warner and Shane Watson fell cheaply, and every other batsman, even the redoubtable Michael Hussey, struggled for fluency.
With the exception of two overs from Umar Gul, Pakistan probed away at Australian weaknesses with spin alone. Hasan bowled immaculately for figures of 2 for 14, while Saeed Ajmal finished with 3 for 17. Hafeez had 2 for 22, and though Hussey, who came in at No.3, batted till the end for his 54, there was no repeat of the Gros Islet heroics as no other batsman crossed 15.
Match 5: Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, 2014 ICC World T20
Result: Pakistan won by 16 runs
This was a helter-skelter game. Pakistan started slowly and poorly, before the Akmal brothers, Kamran and especially Umar, went into overdrive. Australia’s reply floundered in Zulfiqar Babar’s opening over before astonishing hitting from Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch made it the favourite. But despite Bilawal Bhatti’s medium pace being taken for 30 in an over, spin prevailed yet again as nine of the Australian batsmen failed to get into double figures.
Umar came to the crease with Pakistan 25 for 2 in the fifth over. He went on to smash nine fours and four sixes, while adding 96 with his older brother. Only a miscue to long-on in the final over denied him a century – he finished with 94 from 54 balls – and the likes of Kamran, 31 off 31, and Shahid Afridi, 20 off 11, sensibly batted around him.
In response, Maxwell cruised to 50 off just 18 balls, and at 126 for 2 in the 12th over, Australia was ahead. But Maxwell, who made 74, holed out while seeking a seventh six, and the rest formed a bit of a procession. Finch held up one end till Saeed Ajmal outsmarted him, and Mohammad Hafeez was confident enough to give Bhatti a second over as Pakistan rebounded from its loss to India.
What to expect at ICC World T20 2016
Neither team made it out of the group stage in 2014, the first time Pakistan had suffered such a fate. Both teams have been in poor form of late, and progression will not be easy from a group that includes India, New Zealand and, if the qualifying stage plays out according to seedings, Bangladesh. Australia finishes off its league engagements with back-to-back matches against Pakistan and India. For Pakistan, a campaign that starts at Eden Gardens wends its way to Dharamsala and Mohali, where it suffered a heartbreaking semifinal loss in the 2011 World Cup.
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