3rd Quarter-Final, Adelaide

Australia v Pakistan

At Adelaide, March 20, 2015 (day/night). Australia won by six wickets. Toss: Pakistan.
Australia's eventual gallop into the semi-finals meant this was not quite the World Cup's most engrossing fixture - but the duel between Wahab Riaz and Watson was without doubt its most arresting passage of play. Leading Pakistan's defence of a meagre 213, and riled by words of advice from Watson and Starc when he had batted, Wahab bent his back and bared heart and soul in an effort to sweep the competition favourites aside. Warner was caught at third man, and Clarke could only fend a bouncer to short leg, leaving Watson to face up to a spell in which Wahab regularly crested 93mph. He struggled to cope with some venomous bouncers, prompting sarcastic applause from the bowler and a series of exchanges that would cost Wahab 50% of his match fee and Watson 15%. The turning point came when Watson, on four, top-edged a hook, only for Rahat Ali to drop a simple catch at fine leg that would have left Australia 83 for four. It drew the wind from Wahab's sails - and Watson breathed again. At the other end, Smith had been playing with an almost other-worldly assurance in the face of Wahab's fire; without Watson, however, he might not have had the partners to carry it through. After they added 89, Maxwell provided the decisive flourish. On a pitch offering something for everyone, Hazlewood earned the match award for bowling of great accuracy and subtle movement. But the pivotal moment of the Pakistan innings had come when Misbah-ul-Haq wasted a start by slogging Maxwell's modest off-break to Finch, the first of three Pakistani batsmen caught at deep midwicket. Such profligacy was made to look especially maddening when Wahab steamed in - but Australia held firm. DANIEL BRETTIG
Man of the Match: J. R. Hazlewood.

© John Wisden & Co