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T20 WC: Australia beat Pak by 34 runs

St Lucia: Shrugging off their shock defeat to Zimbabwe in a warm up game, Australia began their Twenty20 World Cup campaign in style, thrashing the defending champions Pakistan by 34 runs in a group C match here on Sunday.

Opting to bat, Australia posted a decent 191 though the score could have been bigger had they not suffered a dramatic collapse in the fag end.

Shane Watson (81) and David Hussey (53) were the architects of the huge Australian total as the duo put on an aggressive 98-run partnership for the third wicket.

Australia then defended the total comfortably as they bundled out Pakistan for 157 exactly in 20 overs at Beausejour stadium.

Pakistan had beaten Bangladesh yesterday and would hope that Australia beat Bangladesh in the last league match of the group, which will ensure their progress to next stage.

Pakistan made a shaky start to their chase, thanks to a disciplined bowling by Australian pace trio Dirk Nannes (3/41), Shaun Tait (3/20) and Mitchell Johnson (2/21).

All three pacemen contributed in removing the rival top- order, leaving Pakistan to do a catch up job all the time.

By the fifth over, Pakistan had lost Kamran Akmal (0), Salman Butt (15) and Mohammed Hafeez (12) as they found the going tough against a fiery pace attack.

Misbah-ul-Haq (41) and his skipper Shahid Afridi (33) took on the fight and played some good cameos in the middle order but none of the two batsmen could play through the innings.

Earlier, Watson and Hussey smashed blistering fifties before Australia suffered a dramatic collapse.

Young Pakistani paceman Mohammed Aamer bowled an unbelievable last over which saw five Australian wickets going down without adding a run to the scoreboard.

The sensational over gave Pakistan something to cheer as before that they were treated with utter disdain by the Australians top-order batsmen.

Aamer got wickets of Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson and Shuan Tait in the first, second and last balls of the final over respectively while two batsmen ran themselves out.

Australia began well, riding on a fiery start by their openers, and went on to consolidate their innings splendidly.

Openers David Warner (26) and Watson put on a quick-fire 51 inside six overs to lay the foundation for a good total after opting to bat.

Mohammed Sami broke the partnership in his first over by scalping Warner and Mohammed Hafeez sent back rival skipper Michael Clarke (2) to bring relief for Pakistan.

However, those smiles were short lived as Watson and David Hussey not only ensured that they stay at the crease to avoid a collapse but also broke the back of the Pakistan attack by their explosive batting.

After initial caution, Watson hit Hafeez for two sixes in the 10th over as Australia reached 86 for two.

The duo went on to add 98 runs for the third wicket with Hussey hitting a 29-ball 53 which was laced with two fours and five sixes.

Four of those five sixes came off paceman Sami`s one over, 16th of the innings, as David Hussey went berserk.

Spinner Saeed Ajmal separated the duo by dismissing David and then sent back Watson too. Watson`s 49-ball 81 was studded with seven fours and four sixes.

However by that time, Australia had put on enough runs and barring that incredible last over collapse, they did everything right.

PTI

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