Australia v Pakistan, World Cup 2015, 3rd quarter-final, Adelaide March 20, 2015

Smith, Hazlewood book semi-final berth


Australia 216 for 4 (Smith 65, Watson 64*) beat Pakistan 213 (Haris Sohail 41, Hazlewood 4-35) by 6 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Wahab Riaz delivered one of the most fearsome spells in World Cup history but Australia, helped by some shoddy Pakistan fielding, weathered the storm and set up a semi-final showdown with India. Chasing 214 to win this quarter-final, Australia faced trouble at 59 for 3. Wahab delivered a bouncer barrage to Shane Watson but, like a zing bail earlier in the day, Watson wobbled but did not fall, and was there to strike the winning runs.

The key moment came when Wahab's efforts led to a top edge from Watson that flew high to fine leg, where Rahat Ali contrived to drop the simplest of chances. Wahab let out a scream, and you could sense all the pressure he had built slowly dissipate. Wahab was playing like a cornered tiger; Rahat after his drop looked like a cornered kitten. Pakistan soon ran out of energy and options. Watson, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell secured the result.

Just as Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene left ODI cricket with a disappointing loss on Wednesday, so too will Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi. Misbah was always in the game, though, his 34 helping to rebuild Pakistan's innings and his captaincy asking questions of Australia. Who'd have thought that in a World Cup quarter-final a 40-year-old skipper would be under the helmet at short leg?

But so Misbah was as the pressure built on Australia. Wahab's initial six-over spell brought 2 for 24 - David Warner cut to third man and Michael Clarke fended a short one to a man in close. The Clarke wicket was indicative of Pakistan's approach, and it only became clearer when Watson arrived.

Wahab fizzed bouncer after bouncer at Watson's head and chest; Watson ducked and fended awkwardly. He scored only four times off Wahab in that spell, one flew off the shoulder of the bat short of third man, one was the drop by Rahat. At the other end, Smith had no such trouble, calmly compiling runs, cover driving with exquisite timing and placement. In terms of fluency, watching Smith and Watson batting together was like seeing Winston Churchill trying to converse with Manuel from Fawlty Towers.

But once Wahab was too exhausted to continue, Watson was a different batsman. He immediately pulled Sohail Khan for four, and the runs began to flow. Smith fittingly brought up his half-century with a superb cover drive for four off Rahat from his 51st delivery, but was eventually lbw to Ehsan Adil walking across his stumps for 65.

Maxwell joined Watson after the 89-run Smith-Watson stand and played some outlandish shots, including a tennis smash that flew off the frame of his racquet, or bat, and was put down by Sohail at third man. Typically, it was off a Wahab short ball. Pakistan will go no further in this tournament, but it will not be through any lack of effort from Wahab. Maxwell was on 44 and Watson 64 when the victory came.

Pakistan's fielding was poor, but their biggest problem was their batting. Their innings featured more cameos than a Robert Altman film, but no lead role. Eight batsmen reached double figures but nobody scored a fifty. Once a solid 73-run stand between Misbah and Haris Sohail was broken, it was a steady decline. Still, from 24 for 2 in the sixth over, they were perhaps fortunate to even breach 200.

Misbah started slowly and looked set to perform yet another rescue mission, and together with Haris frustrated the Australians. Ultimately, though, it was Pakistan who were frustrated. Trying to lift the run rate, Misbah fell for 34 off 59 deliveries, and was followed soon after by a flat-footed Haris, who edged behind off Mitchell Johnson for 41 off 57.

Cow corner turned into sheep corner as one by one the Pakistan batsmen followed each other senselessly into oblivion by slogging to the man at deep midwicket. Misbah was the leader of the flock. Twice he had cleared the midwicket boundary off Maxwell, but when he tried for a third he managed only a top edge that was comfortably taken by Aaron Finch.

Perhaps tempted by the short square boundaries, Umar Akmal also sent a catch straight to Finch at deep midwicket off Maxwell. Then it was Afridi, who miscued his pull off Josh Hazlewood and was well caught by Finch above his head back near the boundary. Akmal had made 20 off 25, Afridi had struck 23 off 15. If it is Afridi's final ODI innings, it was at least a typical one.

A 30-run stand between Sohaib Maqsood and Wahab briefly annoyed the Australians, although mostly because so many balls whizzed passed their outside edges. The seeds for Wahab's aggressive bowling might have been sowed when Mitchell Starc seemed to advise him that the ball was white, and he should try to hit it. There was some tension at the time, though they were sharing a smile or two soon after.

Maqsood fell for 29 when he slashed Hazlewood to point, and Wahab was gone for 16 when he edged behind off Starc. Hazlewood had moved the ball early and finished with 4 for 35, justifying the decision of the selectors to recall him ahead of Pat Cummins, and Starc bowled well for his two. Pakistan limped to the 50th over but 213 was hardly what Misbah had in mind when he chose to bat.

But then, maybe it was a decent effort given both openers gone within the first six overs. Sarfraz Ahmed and Ahmed Shehzad both edged to slip to be caught low to the ground by diving fielders, Watson off Starc for Sarfraz and Clarke off Hazlewood for Shehzad. It was nearly 24 for 3 in the sixth over when Misbah had a stroke of good fortune.

The second ball that Misbah faced flicked the leg stump and while the zing bail lit up, it only jumped briefly out of its groove and fell back into place, denying Hazlewood a wicket. Misbah might have been released on bail, but Pakistan did not have the necessary escape plan to get out of jail in this match.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • subhasish on March 23, 2015, 12:53 GMT

    sry sanjeev chhiber @ indian bating not that strong india heavly depends on gud start and kholi .no7 jadega not in from i also like to see how raina goes aganist stac,cummins,jhonson and aswiny ,jadeja will be under pressure becoz both strugals aganist maxwell and lack of close match cost india i think becoz india will all matches easly

  • Dan on March 23, 2015, 0:52 GMT

    @ SANJEEV CHHIBER, LOL ......Too many "if this" and "if that" there for you sunshine and you think the SCG is your home game as well. Just wait till Thursday and we will see your superior batting units. Good Luck to Team India. They have been playing very well in this tournament so far.

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2015, 14:51 GMT

    Our batting was much superior to OZ there but our bowling was horrible. They were batting against a club level attack while we were playing the best.3. Our bowlers have come to the party. Shami is fit and hungry while Yadav has matured and that most underrated of bowlers Mohit has shocked me , though I may add pleasantly Ashwin is potent now that he has divorced his first love the Carrom ball which sucks. His slower speed, the old fashioned drifter which goes away like outswing and the use of the crease makes him IMHO not only the best off spinner in the world but added with his proper batting a dream addition at number 8 5. This OZ team wilts under pressure. you just have to witness the OZ-Kiwi match to know that. If Wahab's catches were accepted and if Irfan was playing OZ woulnt have made 160 6. Well its a home game for us. There will be 70000 Indians in the stands

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2015, 14:50 GMT

    In my humble opinion I feel India should win the World cup unless they really freeze on the 26th. We lost 2- to OZ, yes, in the tests but that were the first two tests. And there two if Kohli had taken his foot off the accelarator we would have drawn the first.And if we had been not got the wrong rub of the green (no complaints, its luck)in umpiring etc we would have been 2 up, Just anaylyze the first two tests.

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2015, 9:16 GMT

    Very Gud bye bye to shahid afridi and misbah and younis and they served the country really well and u will be remembered for a long time as a legend but wahab's spell was the best spell in the history of world cups but hats off to shahid afridi, misbahand younis as they played really well in there career but if arhat had taken the catch the match would have been in pakistan's favour and they would have won it but no probs pakistan u did well in the World Cup

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2015, 8:27 GMT

    OZ's look vulnerable particularly at the top which puts too much pressure on Middleorder and lower middle order.indecision could cost them this worldcup if they don't chop and change quickly. Finch has been a weaklink and has been given a long rope , they should strengthen the middle order by bringing in bailey or Mitch marsh against india, I personally prefer Marsh ,as he uses his feat well against spinners and can hit the ball hard. Shane Watson looks settled at number 5 and hence it would not be wise to move him to open with warner now, hence the only option would be send Haddin to move to the top with warner, followed by smith, Clarke,Watson, Marsh, Maxwell, Faulkner , jhonson,starc,Haazelwood. this would be a killer team and the cup will be OZ's for the taking.

  • Foxer on March 22, 2015, 4:30 GMT

    I think Watson won that contest comprehensively, Wahab spell was very ordinary with an economy rate of 6 runs per over. The wickets Pakistan got was all because of wrong shot selection by the Australians. The match was over in the 34th Over. Australia outplayed them in every department. With all these facts is the cricket community trying to console Pakistan by praising this poor performance.

  • Richard on March 22, 2015, 4:16 GMT

    Amazing Starc's copping the flak he is, he was only having a bit of fun, there was plainly nothing particularly offensive about it since he and Wahab were laughing about it at the end of the over. There's a similar story about Viv Richards in the county game:- He'd played and missed a few times and the bowler came down the pitch to help him out by saying something along the lines of, "The ball, it's that red thing with the stitches, you're supposed to hit it". The next ball disappeared over the bowler's head and way in to the crowd. Viv strode down the pitch chewing his gum, and said, "So you know what it looks like, you go and find it". The way some people would have it cricket would only be played by nuns and monks who had taken a vow of silence, and I don't see ANY teams who don't like a bit of a chat.

  • Dummy on March 22, 2015, 0:07 GMT

    If anyone can give back the Australian team in their own coin......its the Pakistani team. Strangely Mitchel starc who started it , got away with it and Wahab Riaz got 50% match fee fined. Australian team dont come with a plan of how to play, but with a plan on how to pick up fights. All players like Warner, Starc, Smith, Clark are examples.

  • JOHN on March 21, 2015, 23:10 GMT

    That's good news for cricket.Now that body line is back and acceptable, can't imagine how the pampered Indians will face up to the pace of Australia next. I think Australians are aware of this now. Can't see any quality pace in the Indian attack, just spin will not be sufficient. So that will be entertaining no.

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