New Delhi: Australia managed to hold off Pakistan in the third quarter-final of the ICC World Cup 2015 to book a semi-final date with India. Wahab Riaz bowled a fiery spell to rock the Australian top order. However, Steve Smith and Shane Watson held firm to guide the Aussies to a well-deserved win. Earlier in the day, Josh Hazlewood led the bowling attack to bundle out Pakistani for 213.
Over 34 | Score 216/4
Shane Watson hit the winning runs to seal Australia's spot in the semi-finals.
Over 33 | Score 203/4
Having grown in confidence, Watson now giving it back to Wahab with good measure. A cracking pull followed by tick down to fine leg. Wahab did not enjoy that.
Over 32 | Score 193/4
Shane Watson completed his fifty. This has been a solid innings from him after braving the Riaz's spell early on. Maxwell on the other hand smacked a boundary and a six off consecutive balls to signal his intent to finish this off quickly.
Over 31 | Score 182/4
Wahab strayed slightly on Maxwell's pads and was flicked for a boundary through the midwicket region. The pacer then banged one in short, which didn't rise as expected and was too close to Maxwell's body. However, he somehow managed to swat it away for another boundary through backward point.
Over 30 | Score 169/4
Adil was hit for two boundaries off that over. First, Maxwell pulled him through midwicket and then Watson played a glorious cover drive.
Over 29 | Score 160/4
Wahab came back into the attack for one final burst of pace. He banged in a short ball that was top edged by Maxwell playing a very uncomfortable shot. Sohail Khan did well to get to the ball from third man but failed to complete the simple catch. Wahab was devastated.
Over 28 | Score 153/4
Glenn Maxwell walked out to the middle after Smith's dismissal. He hit the left-arm pacer straight down the ground for a beautiful boundary.
Over 27 | Score 149/4
Bowling change works!
Adil trapped Smith LBW as he tried to flick a delivery that was on middle and leg stump.
Smith lbw b Ehsan Adil 65 (69b)
— ICC (@ICC) March 20, 2015
Over 25 | Score 139/3
Watson and Smith have stitched together a partnership of 80 runs so far. Haris was knocked around for four singles by the duo off that over. Aussies are ticking off the runs with ease now.
Over 24 | Score 135/3
Spin from both ends!
Afridi has not been effective today. The Aussies have milked his bowling without any real problems. Nine runs came off that over.
Kevin Pietersen's verdict on Wahab's spell.
Best spell of bowling by a foreigner on Aussie soil for years...#Wahab
— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) March 20, 2015
Over 23 | Score 126/3
Haris Sohail was introduced into the attack by Misbah. He bowled a tight first over conceding just 4 runs.
Over 22 | Score 122/3
Sohail Khan failed to build any pressure on the duo. He has not been able to direct his bouncers well. 10 runs came off that over.
Over 21 | Score 112/3
Rahat Ali came back into the attack. He needs to make amends for dropping Watson. Smith meanwhile, drove him through the covers to bring up his fifty. What a player!
Over 19 | Score 98/3
Wahab & Watto!
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) March 20, 2015
Over 18 | Score 93/3
Sohail Khan was brought back into the attack. Five runs were scored off it. Watson one believes would be happy to play anybody other than Wahab.
Wasim Akram on Wahab Riaz!
Enjoying the spell from Wahab he is pumped up big time .
— Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) March 20, 2015
Over 17 | Score 88/3
Wahab set up the perfect trap for Watson, but was let down by Rahat. Watto top edged a fiery short ball from Wahab straight down to fine leg; only to be dropped by Rahat Ali. That was a sitter and should have been gobbled up by the fielder.
Over 16 | Score 83/3
Smith continued to play his shots as he flicked Afridi off his pads for a boundary. He looks a class apart out in the middle.
Over 15 | Score 74/3
Wahab bowled another dream over to Watson and had him ducking and uncomfortably fending off short balls.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has some advice for Misbah-ul-Haq
Bowl your fast bowlers Misbah... Forget the spin.... #PAKvAUS
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 20, 2015
Over 14 | Score 72/3
Spin was introduced for the first time in the Australian innings as Shahid Afridi was handed the ball. He conceded five runs off his first over.
Umpires called for drinks and the players will enjoy a little breather. Watson needs it more than anyone.
Over 13 | Score 67/3
Pakistani players, led by fiery Wahab are playing mind games with Watson. Wahab bowled the over the match so far to Watto with some nasty short-pitched stuff. Clearly, the right hander is feeling the heat out in the middle.
Over 12 | Score 66/3
Despite losing two partners, Smith has looked in fine form. He caressed Rahat through the covers for a boundary to ease off some pressure
Over 11 | Score 59/3
WAHAB ON FIRE!
Riaz banged in a short ball that Clarke could only fend off to lob a simple catch to Maqsood at short-leg. GAME ON!
Clarke c Sohaib Maqsood b Wahab Riaz 8 (11b)
Brian Lara offers his opinion on the state of the match at the moment.
2 down!! Key partnership Australia need their 2 accomplished batsmen to stay together 4 some time but d Pakistanis need to get rid of 1 soon
— Brian Lara (@BrianLara) March 20, 2015
Over 10 | Score 56/2
After taking a catch to dismiss Warner, Rahat followed it up with a good tight over conceding only four runs. Michael Clarke has looked in good touch ever since coming out to bat.
Over 9 | Score 52/2
Wahab Riaz was introduced into the attack. Pakistan need a big performance from him today. He banged in a short ball on off and Warner directed it straight down to Rahat at third man who took a good, low catch.
Warner c Rahat Ali b Wahab Riaz 24 (23b)
Over 8 | Score 44/1
After an expensive first over, Rahat made a good comeback as he bowled a tight over conceding only 4 runs.
Over 7 | Score 40/1
Steve Smith scored his third boundary driving Sohail through extra-cover. Smith in full flow is just a delight to watch.
Over 6 | Score 35/1
Misbah made the first bowling change by introducing Rahat Ali into the attack. Warner and Smith greeted him with a boundary each. One over covers and the other through them.
Over 5 | Score 23/1
Steve Smith played a glorious leg glance off Sohail through square to pick up his first boundary of the innings.
Over 3 | Score 15/1
Sohail Khan got rid of the dangerous Aaron Finch after trapping him LBW. The right-hander opted for a review but the umpires initial decision was upheld. Steve Smith came out to bat after Australia lose their first wicket.
A Finch lbw b Sohail Khan 2 (5b)
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) March 20, 2015
Australia did well to restrict Pakistan to only 213. Josh Hazlewood was pick of the bowlers taking four wickets. No Pakistani batsman really got going and Waqar Younis will be disappointed by the effort of his boys. Will Aussies chase down the target in a canter or can the Pakistani pacers pull off an upset? Join us for the Australian run chase after the break.
Over 50 | Score 213
Adil cleared his front leg to pull and got a top edge that was well caught by Starc.
Ehsan Adil c Starc b Faulkner 15 (22b)
Over 46 | Score 203/9
Shane Watson was brought back into the attack. He kept things tight and conceded only three runs.
Over 46 | Score 200/9
Pakistan brought up their 200 as Adil glided a Faulkner delivery down to third man for a single.
Over 44 | Score 192/9
Hazlewood ended his spell with four wickets. Sohail Khan backed away and had a wild swing at the ball, only to top edge it and get caught up Haddin. The ball went miles up in the air and the wicketkeeper completed a rather difficult catch.
Sohail Khan c Haddin b Hazlewood 4 (5b)
Over 43 | Score 192/8
Riaz backed away and had a wild swing at Starc's full delivery. The left-arm pacer finally managed to induce an edge off Riaz's bat that went straight into Haddin's gloves. Mitchell Starc is now the highest wicket-taker (18) in the tournament.
Wahab Riaz c Haddin b Starc 16 (22b)
Over 42 | Score 188/7
Hazlewood picked his second wicket of the match as Maqsood drove a full delivery on off-stump, straight into the hands of Johnson at cover.
Sohaib Maqsood c Johnson b Hazlewood 29 (44b)
Over 41 | Score 188/6
Starc and Wahab have exchanged some words and they have a nice little duel going on. Riaz is in no mood to back off!
He clipped the left-arm pacer to long-on boundary for four runs. Great contest.
Over 40 | Score 182/6
Wahab picked up a much-needed boundary through the mid-on region. He got more runs when his knock down for single induced a shy at the stumps from Johnson resulting in four overthrows. That's was a good over for Pakistan.
Over 39 | Score 171/6
Starc has been the best bowler in the tournament. He kept the pressure on the Pakistani batsmen with good, accurate pace bowling. They are finding it hard to get him away.
Over 38 | Score 168/6
Faulkner bowled a very tight over. After conceding a single off his first bowl, the left-bowler bowled five dot balls to Wahab Riaz.
Over 37 | Score 167/6
Mitchell Starc was brought back into the attack. Michael Clarke is going for the kill here. He wants to bundle out Pakistan as soon as possible.
Over 34 | Score 158/6
Afridi top edged a pull off Hazlewood that flew over the keeper's head for a boundary. As always, living dangerously cost the swashbuckling all-rounder his wicket. Lala pulled a ball that was not really short and was caught by Finch at deep midwicket. He became the third Pakistani batsman to have perished to a catch in the deep midwicket region.
Shahid Afridi c Finch b Hazlewood 23 (15b)
Over 33 | Score 152/5
Afridi records his 351st six in ODI cricket he drove Johnson with an open face over the deep point boundary. Finch could do nothing but watch it sail over him.
Over 32 | Score 143/5
Joshn Hazlewood came back into the attack. He has been very economical today. But he is lofted over mid-on for a boundary by Maqsood.
Over 30 | Score 134/5
Akmal drilled Maxwell's long hop straight down the throat of Finch. The batsman is livid with that shot. Pakistan once again in self-destruction mode here.
Afridi walked out after that dismissal and smacked two boundaries without a care in the world. Boom Boom time at the Adelaide Oval!
Umar Akmal c Finch b Maxwell 20 (25b)
Over 29 | Score 124/4
Akmal punched Johnson straight down the ground to pick up a much-needed boundary. He along with Maqsood need to rebuild the innings now.
Over 27 | Score 114/4
Pakistan lost their fourth wicket as Sohail attempted a big booming drive off Johnson and edged it straight to Haddin. The ball was angled away as it was bowled from around the wicket and the batsman was in no position to play it, especially without any foot movement.
Haris Sohail c Haddin b Johnson 41 (57b)
Over 26 | Score 108/3
Bit of drama there on the last ball of the over. Akmal rocked on the backfoot and played a beautiful cut past point to pick up four runs. However, the bails lit up, which resulted in an appeal from Maxwell for a hit-wicket. The replay showed that Haddin's gloves and not the batsman had in fact dislodged the bails.
Over 25 | Score 102/3
Clarke showed why he is so highly rated as a captain. After getting a breakthrough in the previous over, he immediately brought Johnson back into the attack to put pressure right away on the new batsman Umar Akmal.
Over 24 | Score 101/3
Good bowling change from Clarke. Despite being hit for two sixes in his previous overs, the skipper brought Maxwell back into the attack. Misbah once again looked to target the spinner and threw his wicket away. The Pakistani skipper played a slog sweep and top edged the ball only to plant it straight into the very safe hands of Aaron Finch at deep midwicket.
Misbah-ul-Haq c Finch b Maxwell 34 (59b)
Over 23 | Score 96/2
Australia's two all-rounders Watson and Faulker have kept things tight by bowling in tandem. Despite the odd boundary, the two batsmen have not really managed to get them away.
Over 21 | Score 90/2
Sohail cleared his front leg and hit Watson over mid-on to pick up his fourth boundary of the match. The batsman did not strike the ball as cleanly as he would have liked to though.
Over 20 | Score 83/2
James Faulkner came into the attack for the first time today. He bowled a good over conceding just 2 runs.
Over 19 | Score 81/2
Shane Watson was brought into the attack by Clarke. Sohail attempted a heave over midwicket but the resulting top edge caused the ball to fall just short of the third man fielder. Misbah immediately walked down the pitch to have a world with the left-hander.
Over 18 | Score 77/2
Misbah seems to have made up his mind to target Maxwell. He slogged the off-spinner over midwicket for his second six of the match. There is something special about Misbah's batting when he plays spin bowlers, especially the offies.
Over 17 | Score 69/2
Despite bowling well, Johnson has not really managed to trouble the Pakistani batsmen. Sohail punched him through the vacant mid-on area to pick up three runs.
Over 16 | Score 65/2
After being smashed for a six in his previous over, Maxwell bowled a good comeback over conceding just a single. Wasim Akram in the commentary box is clearly upset over Sohail's failure to rotate strike effectively.
Players go for a quick breather has drinks arrive out in the middle.
Over 15 | Score 64/2
Johnson continued to bowl from the other end. Despite not picking up any wickets, the left-arm pacer's figures (4-0-15-0) have been decent so far today.
Over 14 | Score 61/2
Spin was introduced for the first time in the match as Glen Maxwell was given the ball. Misbah hoicked him over deep midwicket for a six. Good, positive intent from the skipper.
Over 13 | Score 52/2
Johnson continued to bowl at good consistent speeds. The batsmen picked up two singles off his over.
Over 12 | Score 49/2
Good over for Pakistan!
Sohail displayed some aggression as he picked up two boundaries of Hazlewood. Pakistan will be relieved to finally register a good over after quite a while.
Over 11 | Score 38/2
Johnson's second over was fiery and quick. He served up some short stuff to Sohail that was defended well by the left-hander.
Over 10 | Score 36/2
Hazlewood bowled a good tight over conceding just a single. Haris Sohail has looked positive and seems to be going for his shots despite the situation.
Over 9 | Score 35/2
Mitchell Johnson was introduced into the attack. Misbah inside edged him for a lucky boundary down to fine leg.
Over 7 | Score 28/2
Starc peppered Misbah with some short stuff. He has generated some serious pace today with tremendous accuracy. The left-arm pacer is now joint highest wicket taker along with Mohammed Shami in the tournament.
Over 6 | Score 26/2
Another disappointing innings from Shahzad came to an end as he played away from his body to a Hazlewood delivery that was moving away. The ball took a thick edge off the bat and went straight into the safe hands of Clarke at second slip.
Here is what former India opener Aakash Chopra tweeted ahead of Pakistan's innings regarding Shahzad's possible mode of dismissal. Almost prophetic!
Why do I see Hazlewood getting Shehzad in the slip cordon? #AusvsPak
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) March 20, 2015
Crisis man Misbah-ul-Haq arrived to the crease after the fall of Pakistan's second wicket to rescue a situation he is all to familiar with. Hazlewood fired a delivery on his pads that missed everything and clipped the bails on its way to the keeper's gloves. Despite the contact, the bails didn't fall off. Is it Misbah's day?
Ahmed Shehzad c Clarke b Hazlewood 5 (13b)
Over 5 | Score 24/1
After playing a forceful pull past square leg for a boundary, Sarfraz edged Starc's quick delivery to Shane Watson at first slip. The left-armer did not enjoy being pulled on the previous ball and gave Sarfraz a little send-off as they crossed each other.
Haris Sohail walked out to the middle and cranked a drive so hard straight into the ground that he went over the point fielder for a boundary. What a way to get off the mark.
Sarfraz Ahmed c Watson b Starc 10 (16)
Over 4 | Score 12/0
Hazlewood was on the button in his second over. After conceding a single off his first ball, the lanky pacer bowled five dot balls to Shahzad who has found it hard to rotate the strike so far.
Over 3 | Score 12/0
Sarfraz, who has been Pakistan's only centurian so far in the tournament, got off the mark with a clip down to long leg. He is key to them getting a big score today.
Over 2 | Score 6/0
Josh Hazlewood was given the second new ball by skipper Michael Clarke. He strayed on Sarfraz's pads, which resulted in four leg-byes. The wicketkeeper-batsman is yet to get off the mark.
Over 1 | Score 1/0
Ahmed Shahzad and Sarfraz Ahmed opened the innings for Pakistan. In-form strike bowler Mitchell Starc was on the money in the first over conceding only a single.
Australian team can be seen wearing black armbands as a tribute to their former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser who died in the early hours of the morning aged 84. Fans of both nations joined the players to belt out the national anthems of their respective teams. The Adelaide Oval is buzzing. Here we go!
Michael Atherton felt there was a tinge of grass on the pitch and the ball is not expected to seam around a lot.
Toss and team news
Pakistan won the toss and captain Misbah-ul-Haq opted to bat first. Michael said he wasn't too worried on losing the toss and bowling first. The best chance of winning on this ground is by batting first and putting up a big total. The average first innings score here is 271 runs.
One change has been made by both teams. Australia have brought in Josh Hazlewood in place of Pat Cummins, while Pakistan have replaced injured pacer Mohammad Irfan with Ehsan Adil.
AJ Finch, DA Warner, SPD Smith, MJ Clarke, SR Watson, GJ Maxwell, JP Faulkner, BJ Haddin, MG Johnson, MA Starc, JR Hazlewood
Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfraz Ahmed, Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi,Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil
Pakistan gained momentum in the latter part of the Pool matches and even though they have won four matches in a row, they are up against the mighty Aussies who are certainly the clear favourites to win the tournament.
Also see: ICC World Cup 2015 Photos & Slideshows
The Misbah ul Haq-led squad got off to a poor start after they suffered two consecutive defeats against India and West Indies. There was a change of strategy by the think tank which worked for them as they defeated Zimbabwe, UAE, South Africa and Ireland in consecutive matches. Ahmed Shehzad has played some crucial innings at the top of the order, but it has been the form of Sarfraz Ahmed that has reduced the pressure on other batsmen. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who was a late inclusion in the squad, grabbed the opportunity with both hands despite missing out on a half-century by just one run against South Africa, the 27-year-old slammed the first ton by a Pakistani batsmen in the tournament.
Also read: ICC World Cup 2015 Venues - Adelaide
Misbah has four half-centuries to his name but he needs to improve his strike rate for which he has received severe criticism. Umar Akmal hasn't done much in the tournament and he would be expected to showcase his skills against the Aussies. In the absence of Mohammad Irfan, the seam attack of Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and Sohail Khan will need to fire as a unit to unsettle the world class Australian batsmen. The form of Shahid Afridi is a matter of concern as the all-rounder hasn't been among the wickets (2 from six matches) and has failed terribly with the willow as well.
Also read: ICC World Cup 2015 Schedule
The Aussies on the other hand have a squad which comprises of several match winners. At the top of the order, they have two stupendous batsmen in Aaron Finch and David Warner who have scored a ton each in the tournament. Michael Clarke, Steve Smith have been in great form and Glenn Maxwell is one player who could once again demolish the opposition bowlers. Australia have two world-class all-rounders in Shane Watson and James Faulkner as a result of which they have massive depth in their batting.
Such has been their form that players like George Bailey and Mitchell March are sitting on the bench. In the bowling department, Mitchell Starc has been the highlight of the tournament and with Pat Cummins, Mitchell Johnson in their ranks, Australia are likely to reach the semis without much hassle.