Australia A v Pakistan A, Twenty20, Cairns July 23, 2006

Pakistan A squeeze out two-wicket win

Cricinfo staff

Pakistan A 8 for 123 (Hafeez 39, Tait 3-23) beat Australia A 122 (Cosgrove 44) by 2 wickets

Australia A fought back spiritedly in the field after posting just 122, but Pakistan A held their nerve to eke out a two-wicket win in a Twenty20 game in Cairns. In a game which didn't see the usual frenetic hitting associated with this format, Pakistan A almost lost their plot, sinking to 8 for 107, before Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Irshad added 16 for the ninth wicket guide them home.

Requiring just 123 for victory, the Pakistanis got off to a good start as Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Yousuf added 27 in less than three overs. However, three wickets then went down in eight balls as they slumped to 3 for 30. Hafeez played a fine hand, scoring 39 from 29 balls with four fours, but he was next out in the 11th over. Wickets continued to tumble regularly and when Bazid Khan fell for 20, Pakistan A required a further 16 from 13 balls, with only two wickets in hand.

Rehman proved equal to the task, flicking Shane Watson and then driving him past mid-on for two fours in the 19th over. Irshad levelled the scores by slogging James Hopes down the ground for four in the next over, and the winning run came via a scampered single on the off side.

The Australian innings never got any sort of momentum, as Phil Jaques and Shane Watson were dismissed with only ten runs on the board. Mark Cosgrove kept the innings together with a fine 44, off just 32 balls, but apart from Shaun Marsh, who clubbed two sixes en route to 23, none of the other batsmen came to the party. The total seemed too low to challenge Pakistan, but a fine effort in the field almost brought the Australians an unlikely victory.