Mohali: Australia beat Pakistan by 21 runs in a World Twenty20 Super 10 stage match in Mohali on Friday to stay on course for the semi-finals and eliminate their opponents from the tournament.
Australia captain Steven Smith hit an unbeaten 63 off 43 balls to steer his side to 193-4, before James Faulkner took five wickets, including two off consecutive deliveries in the final over, to help his team seal the win.
For Pakistan, Khalid Latif made 46 off 41 balls while Shoaib Malik remained unbeaten on a 20-ball 40. Umar Akmal 32 and Sharjeel Khan 30 also contributed to the team total. Skipper Shahid Afridi however could only manage to score 14 off 7 balls in most likely his last cricket match for Pakistan.
Earlier, Australian skipper Steven Smith played a captain’s innings on Friday, contributing an unbeaten half-century to set Pakistan a formidable 194-run target in the crucial World Twenty20 Super 10 stage match.
Smith, who won the toss and opted to bat on a green-tinged pitch at Mohali, struck an unbeaten 61 off 43 balls after Australia lost three wickets in quick succession.
Fit-again paceman Wahab Riaz did the initial damage, bowling in-form Usman Khawaja for 21 and castling David Warner on nine.
Aaron Finch, brought in at the top of the order for his first game of the tournament, went next, bowled by left-arm spinner Imad Wasim for 15 to leave Australia struggling on 57-3.Smith, however, steadied the ship aided first by Glenn Maxwell (30 off 24 deliveries) and then by the big-hitting Shane Watson.
Watson struck four fours and three sixes to race to an unbeaten 44 off 21 deliveries as Australia took 66 runs off the last five overs.
Imad Wasim picked up 2 wickets for 31 runs, while paceman Wahab Riaz, who replaced Mohammad Irfan for the game, took 2 for 35.
Australia, bidding for a first World Twenty20 title, made two changes to the team that beat Bangladesh in their last match, bringing in the big-hitting Aaron Finch in place of Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood for John Hastings.
Australia were fourth in Group Two behind New Zealand, who are already through to the semi-finals, with Pakistan and India.
Pakistan, who lost to India and New Zealand but also beat Bangladesh, needed a victory to keep their hopes of making it to the semi-finals alive.
Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi made one change to the team that lost to New Zealand with paceman Mohammad Irfan, who conceded 46 runs in his allotted four overs, being replaced by Wahab Riaz.