Australia book England showdown
Aussies win a two-wicket thriller against Pakistan to reach Champions Trophy semi.
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2009 16:47 GMT

Kamran Akmal dives for a Michael Hussey ball [GALLO/GETTY]
Australia overpowered Pakistan by two wickets in a last-ball thriller at Centurion to reach the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy at the expense of India.

Australia were cruising at 140-2 in the 32nd over in pursuit of Pakistan's 205-6 until losing 6-47 with 25 balls left.

However, Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz held firm and scrambled a bye off the last ball to take Australia to a clash with old rivals England on Friday.

Michael Hussey made 64, while Ricky Ponting (32), Tim Paine (29) and Shane Watson (24) all got starts at the top of the order.

"I had chewed all my fingernails off,'' Ponting said.

"It was tough to score quickly out there because the bounce was inconsistent.''

Closing in

Hussey, who put on 81 with Ponting, was dismissed in the 41st over with the score on 170 and had to watch as Pakistan's bowling tightened their accuracy at SuperSport Park.

Offspinner Saeed Ajmal took 2-31 off 10 overs, while Mohammad Asif - returning from injury and a drugs suspension - claimed 2-34 in eight overs.

"The Pakistanis bowled well, and thankfully Brett Lee and Hauritz showed some steel in the end and got us over the line,'' Hussey said.

All six Pakistan batsmen dismissed reached double figures yet not one made a half-century.


Pakistan innings

K Akmal b Watson 44
S Afridi c Hopes b Johnson 15
Y Khan c Johnson b Hopes 18
S Malik c Ponting b Johnson 27
M Yousuf c White b Lee 45
M ul-Haq hit wicket b Watson 41
U Akmal not out 2
R Naved-ul-Hasan not out 7
Extras 6
Total (six wickets, 50 overs) 205
Fall of wickets: 1-30 2-75 3-89 4-123 5-186 6-198

Australia innings

S Watson c K Akmal b Gul 24
T Paine lbw b Afridi 29
R Ponting c Gul b Malik 32
M Hussey b Rana Naved-ul-Hasan 64
C Ferguson b Ajmal 7
C White b Asif 5
J Hopes c Khan b Asif 1
M Johnson b Ajmal 9
B Lee not out 12
N Hauritz not out 9
Extras (b-1, w-12, nb-1) 14
Total (eight wickets, 50 overs) 206
Fall of wickets: 1-44 2-59 3-140 4-157 5-174 6-175 7-176 8-187

Mohammad Yousuf made 45, Kamran Akmal 44 and Misbah-ul-Haq 41, but captain Younis Khan felt the team's total was too low.

"They had a fantastic time with the ball, and got partnerships going when they batted,'' Younis said.

"But suddenly we came back hard and it was a great finish. The pitch was a little soft in the morning, not a bad pitch for cricket.''

Strong bowling

Lee led the way with the ball for Australia with 1-30 off 10 overs.

He was supported by Mitchell Johnson's 2-45 and Shane Watson's 2-32 after Ponting had won the toss and sent Pakistan in to bat.

The promotion of Shahid Afridi up the order to open was not successful as he was dismissed in the eighth over for 15 off 18 balls.

The rest of the innings was as laboured as no batsman was allowed to bat at better than a run a ball.

The 53-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Yousuf and Misbah-ul-Haq took nearly 15 overs as neither batsman was able to assert himself.

Yousuf perished in the 47th over as soon as he tried to increase the scoring rate, while Misbah was out on the final over when he stepped on his stumps to a wide delivery from Watson.

Pakistan meet New Zealand in the other semi-final.

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