Australia v Pakistan, World T20 2016, Group 2, Mohali March 25, 2016

Faulkner, Smith knock Pakistan out in high-scorer


Australia 193 for 4 (Smith 61*, Watson 44*, Wasim 2-31) beat Pakistan 172 for 8 (Latif 46, Malik 40, Faulkner 5-27) by 21 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

James Faulkner took his maiden five-wicket haul to help Australia to a 21-run win © Getty Images

Australia have arrived as a force at the World Twenty20, just in time to wave goodbye to Pakistan, as they completed a 21-run win in Mohali. A storming display with the bat was followed by an improved showing with the ball, setting up what will be effectively an elimination match against India in the final match of the Super 10s on Sunday.

The captain Steven Smith chose Mohali as the venue where he found his rhythm, in turn modulated then audacious in an innings that controlled the tempo of a strong total. He was helped in large part by Shane Watson, who batted with the air of a man freed of tension by his retirement announcement on match eve. Together, their stand left Pakistan with a total too steep despite friendly batting conditions.

In the field, Adam Zampa again bowled with considerable intelligence and character for Australia, winning a duel with Shahid Afridi that Pakistan's captain could not afford to lose if he wished to stay in contention for the semi-finals. James Faulkner's over-the-wrist slower balls then cut a swathe through the latter part of the innings as the run rate climbed, leaving him in possession of Australia's best T20 bowling figures.

Pakistan's chase began firmly, as Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Umar Akmal all played with considerable flair. Nathan Coulter-Nile was subjected to some particularly harsh treatment, and at 85 for 2 in the 11th over the match was overmuch open to Afridi's men.

However, Zampa showed his nerve by finding a way past Akmal, and two overs later followed up by coaxing Afridi down the wicket. The stumping was completed without fuss by Peter Nevill, who has provided a steadying presence behind the stumps in this tournament even though he is not in the batsman-wicketkeeper mode that has become dominant in the 21st century.

From there the required rate climbed with increasing steepness, too much even for Shoaib Malik, who hit out firmly at the end. Australia's lack of a second spin bowler to support Zampa has been a point of some contention, but Faulkner's past as a left-arm wrist spinner has helped him assemble a strong array of change-ups that flummoxed the lower order. Josh Hazlewood and Glenn Maxwell also contributed tidy overs to the cause.

Smith had named another reshuffled Australian side with the soon to retire Watson dropping down the order to make room for the return of Aaron Finch at the expense of Mitchell Marsh, while Hazlewood was included ahead of John Hastings. Pakistan recalled the fit-again Wahab Riaz in place of Mohammad Irfan, who was described as resting by his captain Afridi.

On an excellent pitch offering some sort of help for batsmen and bowlers alike, Mohammad Amir fought a fascinating early duel with Usman Khawaja. Amir's pace and movement unsettled Khawaja in ways seldom seen over the past few months, and while the opener scored swiftly, it was without his customary assurance. When Wahab replaced Mohammad Sami at the other end, Khawaja remained fretful, and was yorked giving himself room - Amir had undoubtedly played a part.

Finch and David Warner did not linger, but Maxwell produced one of the strokes of the tournament with a pure off-driven six that left many wondering why he seems compelled to resort to the outlandish so often. Even so, there was still much work to do when Smith was joined by Watson, on a ground where in 2010 he made one of his two Test hundreds.

Smith's concentration had been fierce, with Warner and Maxwell's blows allowing him to hustle into an innings without trying anything too lateral. Watson's arrival had Smith taking his tempo up several notches, as they charted a course to a total near 200. Initially, Watson looked a little unused to the middle order, but after scrambling to 10 from 10 balls, he detonated.

Watson's sheer power was shown when he muscled Amir over long-on and underlined once more with a glorious six inside out over cover from Sami. Meanwhile Wahab's efforts to stop Smith from levering the ball through the leg side reached a memorable extreme when Australia's captain took guard well outside off stump. Wahab followed him wider, yet Smith was still able to flip a boundary over midwicket that will make all the tournament highlight reels.

In all, Watson and Smith added 74 in 38 balls. Amir and Sami conceded 92 between them without taking a wicket, figures that appeared unlikely when Khawaja had been groping unsuccessfully at the left-armer's new-ball swing. Australia grew in strength from there, much as they have in this tournament. The meeting with India looms large.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Bobshaniquacortezez Luistyrrere on March 26, 2016, 21:49 GMT

    Pakistan need to clean house. As a concerned fan, they need to do a few simple steps to get back on track. 1). Replace Shereyar Khan with someone who has a modern outlook on the game. 2). Hire Wasim Akram as the bowling coach, Sangakarra as batting coach and John Buchanan as head coach. 3.) Invest and give time to youngsters such as Zia-ul-Haq and Sadaf Hussain. Do not drop them if they don't perform and disregard them for the rest of their careers. 4.) Please remove the PCB mafia such as Najam Sethi and Intiklab Khan who have lost their way. 5.) Make one person the captain for all three formats, the reasonable choice is Sarfraz Ahmed. 6.) Hold regular domestic tournaments with less teams and do not name them after their sponsors. Get the latest technology at the Academy and push cricket programs in grade schools and universities. 7.) Prevent politics within the team from reaching great heights. 8.) Tour the difficult countries as this will help the players improve their techniques.

  • Assad on March 26, 2016, 18:45 GMT

    Come on Pakistan -where are all the power hitters - Owaiz Zia, Abdur Razzaq? Is there anyone else in the domestic game who can clear the ground with sixes at will. Afridi is a spent force should have retired 5 years ago. Waqar is no coach should have stuck to commentary. Hafeez is waste of space, please somebody explain what he is doing in the team. 4 seamers against India that just takes the biscuit. Whose hare-brained idea was that?

  • Russell on March 26, 2016, 18:37 GMT

    @SCHUMI1: Smith's batting is nothing like Amla. Amla has a classical technique, beautiful to watch. Smith bats like a farmer. A farmer with an incredibly good eye i'll admit!!

  • crazy on March 26, 2016, 17:34 GMT

    Wrong strategy by pcb, captain, players and coach. All other teams are making use of their spin and Pakistan used all pacers and got knocked out. Pak don't have a proper spinner.

  • ahmed on March 26, 2016, 14:01 GMT

    @cricketsubh team of 2013 and 2010 both times aus conceeded whitewash consists of Clarke smith Watson Lyon Watson warner haddin Johnson starc pattinson siddle so how would u say that current team is better but agree with u this is t20 not test where previous results doesn't matter.

  • Cricinfouser on March 26, 2016, 13:49 GMT

    Afridi is such a great player and has played for so long that I am sure in a few years, he and his children will play for pakistan together and make pakistan proud by setting a world record.

  • Serv on March 26, 2016, 13:07 GMT

    Steve Smith's innings during this match was the perfect blueprint for how he can be effective in this format. Leave the massive hitting to the others. Smith is the engine room that Australia needs in the middle overs.

    Smith is very much like Amla, both are classy and can score runs in quick time just due to pure, classical shot making. Hope he continues to be utilised in this way.

  • Shahid on March 26, 2016, 12:46 GMT

    Pakistan went in opposite directon to all other teams in this tournament.

    All other teams like NZ, IND, WI, AUS used their spin and slow bowling resources to tilt matches in their favour but Pakistan kept using their fast bowlers who just had one way to bowl i.e. just bowling variation , no yorkers. There seems to be a big difference in the mental strength of Pakistani bowlers when compared with other teams.. We are no longer an excellent bowling unit. Pakistan was in the semi- finals of first 4 t20 WCs just because of the excellence of their bowling unit. In the last 2 WCs they have suffered big time due to the lack of intelligent bowlers in their unit. All know batting has been a weak link of our team for decades and it will remain the same ...

  • subhasish on March 26, 2016, 12:31 GMT

    Csowm17@ t20 world cup going on not India vs Australia test series yes Australia lose to India 4-0 3 years ago u can't compare current young Australia team with 2013 Australian team current side far batter side then 2013 side under smith this side become world class nxt time Australia will perform well in India and uae

  • Shruti on March 26, 2016, 12:30 GMT

    @THEWARRIOROFTHEBLEEDBLUEARMY : I was only highlighting the rules governing the Super 10 phase of this T 20 WC and not predicting the weather in favour of Australia,as you have presumed.By the way ,there is a Reserve Day only for the Finals.Like you,I also want a full match but unlike you I am not concluding that a certain team will certainly win.

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