Amazing turnaround by Pakistan sees them stay alive in the hunt for the title.
Pakistan have shown they are still going to be a force at this year’s Twenty20 World Cup after defeating Australia by 16 runs in a spectacular game at Dhaka.
Victory seemed far from the minds of Pakistan fans as Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell went on a rampage, which saw them scoring at 12-an-over at one point as part of their 118-run partnership.
However, the spin-bowling contingent from Pakistan turned the tide of the game in their side’s favour as they rebounded well from their loss to India in their first game of the tournament.
The loss for Australia hurt, as Maxwell, who scored a sensational 74 off 48 balls, was left to see his innings matter for nothing after the situation for Australia was at the comfortable level of 75 runs off 60 with eight wickets remaining.
Earlier in the game, Doug Bollinger earned the first wicket as Ahmed Shehzad fell for five after top-edging an attempted pull.
In what was a rash shot, the Pakistani opener handed Bollinger an easy return catch as his side fell to be 7-1.
It continued Pakistan’s poor recent record for their opening partnerships, with an average of just 19.66 from the past 10 games and no 50-partnerships
Shane Watson was brought on to bowl for Austraia in the fifth over and got an immediate breakthrough when Mohammad Hafeez made room for himself and only managed to drag the ball back onto his stumps.
The Pakistan skipper departed in what was a disappointing end to his innings as his side fell to be 25-2.
Umar Akmal started to help turn things around for his side as he looked to hit Watson through the off-side, with the short side boundaries tempting the Pakistan right-hander.
The Australian’s could have had the danger-man Akmal when he just starting to wind up when he was on 22, when Brad Hogg grassed a chance at deep mid-wicket
Hogg was given an immediate chance to make up for his mistake
but he was taken to task by the two batsman, who took 13 off his first over.
The poor fielding by Australia continued with Bollinger dropping a catch at short fine-leg from the bat of Akmal, who rubbed salt into the wound by lifting Watson over square-leg for six the next ball.
The chain of events saw Pakistan back in the driver’s seat at 80-2 just shy of the half-way mark.
Australia took a gamble with Aaron Finch being brought on to bowl and the move backfired as he was belted over the rope at mid-wicket for a boundary, with Akmal then placing a delicate cut to third man for a boundary as the score raced to 107-2.
Akmal brought up his 50 from just 28 balls, as he feasted on another short ball from Finch
who was being hit out of the attack very quickly, with 18 coming of his over.
Bollinger was brought back into the attack and Akmal brought up his highest score in International T20’s as he reached 67 off just 37 balls.
Sohaib Maqsood departed for just five when he was bowled by Nathan Coulter-Nile, but the danger-man of Akmal was still there as Pakistan continued to surge at 147-4.
Shahid Afridi came to the crease and showed what he is known for as he belted Watson down the ground for six, with the partnership a chance of taking Pakistan over 200.
Mitchell Starc was brought back into the attack, and while knowing he needed to get the ball full, the left-armer from around the wicket ended up serving low full-tosses to Akmal and Afridi.
Akmal’s amazing innings came to an end when he looked to belt Starc out of the ground, only to see it skied to deep long-on.
But the damage had been done as Akmal helped put his side in control at 180-5 before going on to finish at 191-5.
Australia had a horror start when David Warner was dismissed for just four, when he was bowled by a flat ball from Zulfiqar Babar.
Watson followed Warner back to the crease in the same fashion, after hitting a boundary, he fell to Barbar, after the Aussie all-rounder
edged through to the ‘keeper.
Glenn Maxwell took a cavalier approach in trying a reverse-sweep on the first ball he faced
with the ball from Hafeez just missing his leg-stump.
After the early hiccup, Maxwell showed why he can win T20 games on his own, with sixes starting to rain down from his bat.
Aaron Finch struggled to find the gaps early in his innings despite the powerfully built right-hander striking the ball cleanly.
Saeed Ajmal, who loomed as the biggest danger to the Australian top-order, was hit for 13 in his first over, despite the hint of a loose stroke from Maxwell.
In spite of that, the Aussies began to build their innings much like Pakistan were forced to after losing early wickets as they passed 50 with a run-rate north of nine an over.
Maxwell continued to blaze away with his fifth six seeing him bring up his half-century off just 18 balls, as Australia blasted its way back into the game with Bilawal Bhatti having a nightmare with the ball, with a staggering 30 runs coming off his first over.
Ajmal could have ended the pain for his side but he put down a catch from a slashing shot over cover from the bat of Maxwell, when the Australians were on 118-2.
However, after the eighth over which cost them 30, Pakistan did well to reel the rampant run-rate in as they largely restricted Maxwell and Finch to singles.
Afridi got the breakthrough his side needed desperately as Maxwell departed for 74 off 33 when he held out to the fielder on the deep mid-wicket boundary.
Despite the loss of Maxwell, Australia were in a solid position at 126-3 with George Bailey striding to the crease.
Finch bought up his 50 off a lucky edge past shallow third-man, as the Pakistan spinners continued to turn the screws with the equation move to 46 needed of the final five overs.
Afridi got another wicket as he clean bowled Bailey on just four, bringing a end to his scratchy innings on four.
Hodge departed for two as he sliced a shot over cover and Pakistan started to tighten their grip on the game as the score moved to 155-5.
Ajmal continued he stellar comeback in the game as Finch departed for 65 and there was no doubt that Pakistan were in control of the game as
Australia fell to be 162-6, still needing 30 off 14 balls.
Umar Gul almost put a bow on his side’s win when he knocked the leg-stump out of the ground of Coulter-Nile who was sent packing for a duck as the Australian innings continued to unravel until they were defeated.