T20 World Cup: Pakistan keep hopes alive with 16-run win over Australia
Mirpur: A rejuvenated Pakistan brought their campaign back on track as they rode on Umar Akmal`s scintillating 54-ball 94 to register a 16-run victory over tournament favourites Australia in the ICC World T20 here today.
In the end, Glenn Maxwell`s belligerent 33-ball-74 wasn`t enough for Australia to chase down the formidable total in this group league encounter. After posting 191 for five, Pakistan bowled out Australia, who were in the chase till the 15th over, for 175.
The win ensured that Pakistan stayed in the competition, having lost their opening game to India.
While `Maxwell-Mayhem` blew apart the Pakistanis in the first 10 overs, the bowlers led by the ever-dependable Saeed Ajmal (1/33) and veteran Shahid Afridi (2/30), made a comeback and the Aussies frittered in their chase after Maxwell was gone.
The turning point was the 18th over bowled by Ajmal in which he gave only one run and also dismissed Aaron Finch (64, 55 balls), who was still carrying on the chase.
If Umar Akmal`s knock was a brilliant effort, Maxwell`s power-hitting would have swept everyone off their feet. Each of his six sixes were clean hits.
Opposition skipper Hafeez tried to peg him back bowling on his legs but he swept him out off the ground on one occasion and hit him over deep mid-wicket the other time. When Afridi drifted on the pads, he swept over square.
While Maxwell was on a hitting mission, Finch quietly accumulated runs with occasional fours and sixes as they added 118 runs in 10.4 overs.
The watershed moment was the eighth over bowled by Bilawal Bhatti that cost 30 runs. Maxwell hit him for two maximums, apart from a couple of boundaries, to complete his maiden 50 in that over.
When Ajmal tried to push in a quicker one, he was hit towards the deep mid-wicket region. A flighted one on the leg-middle was swept as the first 10 overs produced 117 runs.