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Hussey takes Australia to first T20 World Cup final

Zeecric Bureau

Gros Islet (St Lucia): The Oz juggernaut for a moment looked like coming to a grinding halt after an unpredictable Pakistan stunned all their critics and nearly stormed into third consecutive finals of the ICC World T20, but in came gladiatorial innings from Michael Hussey and set Kangaroos date against England in the finals on Sunday.

Chasing a huge ask of 192 runs for setting the final date with England, Australia lost plot early on as opener David Warner departed for a golden duck. The Kangaroos never really got into grove as Pakistan bowlers kept chipping in with regular wickets and pressure mounted on their opponents. With 18 runs required of last over and seven wickets down, Pakistan looked clear favourite, but Michael Hussey’ three six and a four in the last over stunned Pakistan. Australia romped home with 3 wickets in hand.

Pakistan rode on blistering half-centuries by Kamran Akmal (50) and Umar Akmal (56) to post a challenging 191 for six against Australia in the second semifinals of the Twenty20 World Cup here today.

Put into bat, Kamran and Salman Butt (32) shared a 58-ball 82-run opening partnership to set the tone, while Umar provided the late charge as Pakistan stunned Australia with their stroke-play in a sticky Beausejour wicket here.

Inclement weather and wet ground conditions had earlier delayed the start of the match by half an hour but that did not bother the Pakistan openers as they went about their business.

After a watchful start to ensure no initial hiccups, Kamran and Butt went hammer and tongs, smashing Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson with casual disdain to reach 40 in six overs.

Kamran set the ball rolling, hitting Dirk Nannes for back-to-back fours at cover and mid-off in the third over.

Butt then used his bottom hand to good use to pick up his first four at cover before playing a striking square cut for another boundary in the third over off Shaun Tait.

Butt meted out the same treatment to Michell Johnson in the fifth over when he danced down the pitch and slammed an outside off ball to point boundary.

With Pakistan going great guns, Clarke turned to spinner Steven Smith but Kamran clobbered the Australian for a four and a six to accumulate 15 runs off his first over.

Shane Watson was in Kamran`s firing line in the next over as the opener plundered a six and two fours en route to his fifty in 32 balls as Pakistan breezed to 81 in nine overs.

However two balls later a brilliant catch by David Warner off Johnson at deep cover cut short Kamran`s journey as Pakistan lost its first wicket at 82 in 9.4 overs.

Butt followed Kamran into the hut when his shot off Smith found Warner in the deep as Pakistan slipped to 89 for two in 11.1 overs.

Three overs later, David Hussey removed skipper Shahid Afridi when he sliced one towards point and Brad Haddin caught it after an almost collision with Watson.

However that didn`t halt Pakistan`s momentum as Khalid Latif slammed a six and a four of Michael Clarke and Umar Akmal repeated the treatment to Nannes in the 17th over.

Nannes got rid off Latif in the last ball but the damage was done by then as Umar blasted Johnson for three huge sixes to take Pakistan to 169 for four in 18 overs and pick up his fifty in 27 balls.

Abdul Razzaq did his bit and slammed a six off Hussey before being run out in the fag end of the match as Pakistan inched closer to the 200-mark.

Teams:

Australia: David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (C), David Hussey, Cameron White, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin?, Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes.

Pakistan: Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi (C), Umar Akmal, Khalid Latif, Misbah-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Aamer, Saeed Ajmal.

PTI

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