Australia v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, St Lucia May 14, 2010

Michael Hussey stuns Pakistan


Australia 197 for 7 (Michael Hussey 60*, White 43) beat Pakistan 191 for 6 (Umar 56, Kamran 50) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

This is what makes a champion side and don't Pakistan know it. In 40 overs Australia re-taught their opponents the lessons of four days in Sydney from earlier this year, the moral of which remains that till the precise moment Australia are out, they are never out. Pakistan were on top for three days in Sydney, and 39 overs here, but Australia hunted away, gripped in, stuck at it. And with one ball to go, they pulled off an astonishing chase of 192 to enter Sunday's final, leaving on Pakistan the deepest kind of scars in an already abusive relationship. On this form, England needn't bother turning up.

Michael Hussey was the man in Sydney and he was the man here again, his captain Michael Clarke calling him, justifiably, a "freak," afterwards. Like Michael Bevan on speed, he pulled off an improbable heist, having come in at 105 for five in the 13th over, with too much needed and not enough wickets in hand. But as he crescendoed with 38 runs from the last ten remarkable balls of the game, he completed what must be - with little doubt - the finest innings of its kind in the short history of this short format; it is only hoped that Shane Warne was watching.

Australia were mostly out of it when he had walked in. Cameron White, as fearsome a T20 hitter as there can be, had been scaring Pakistan until then with some monstrous hits, but a regular fall of wickets lulled Pakistan into false hopes. Even the batsmen who had fallen earlier had done so while blazing away, a trait as Australian as Vegemite.

Five sixes in five overs from White had come from the 11th onwards, but Pakistan's spinners still kept a lid on things and when Saeed Ajmal bowled a five-run 14th, it seemed a crucial one. Australia still needed 70 from five and when White fell, it seemed over. But Hussey had already gotten his eye in, pulling Shahid Afridi for a pair of key sixes, and a mirage of momentum remained.

Thereafter he did Hussey things, running hard, placing the ball infuriatingly well so that when he prepared his final onslaught - 34 needed off two overs - it wasn't an outlandish task. Aamer was picked up on the leg-side for two boundaries, which sandwiched four hard-run doubles in between in the 19th. When he pulled the second ball of the last over for maximum, the force was fully with him. The next ball went down the ground, then a sliced cut trickled away, and aptly the finish came with the 14th six of the innings.

Until then, it had looked that for the second year running, Pakistan would fell the behemoth of the day in this tournament, with all the assurance of men who know the force is with them. Their run has been the subject of much sniggering but the one truth they have shown about global tournaments and this format is that it is all about timing and they almost got it right here.

Fear had played a huge role in their recent run against these opponents of 11 straight international defeats. It seemed to have been shed by their batsmen initially. Predictably, the Akmal brothers had much to do with it; the elder Kamran took responsibility at the top, before the younger Umar provided an almighty burst at the death.

Clarke, in overcast conditions, decided to bowl first after the start was delayed half an hour; Afridi would have done likewise but they had planned this smartly. His openers decided the best policy against such an attack was to simply bide their time, a plan loaded with as much risk as sense. But after two overs of nothing - as much time as you will get in this format - Akmal went first, choosing to play bad cop to Salman Butt's good.

Dirk Nannes was sliced and then driven down the ground to begin the fun. Butt joined in, taking on Shaun Tait with a brace of typically lush off-side shots and when Akmal ended the over with a pull, Pakistan were beginning to stamp it. For the first time in the tournament, Tait and Nannes had failed to strike in their opening bursts and Pakistan were well on the way to the best opening start against Australia by some distance.

Change came in the bowling, but not the batting. Steven Smith was slogged for 15, Akmal mistiming him straight down the ground for a maximum that brought up the fifty. Two overs later, as he bludgeoned 18 off Shane Watson, lofting, driving and cutting, he was bringing up his own fifty. Every now and again Butt would provide a gentle reminder of his presence, slicing and dicing a cute flick or cut here and there.

Very briefly momentum stalled as the openers went, but it was at this moment Umar decided to show the watching world once again the range of his talent. As sure of himself as a young rockstar, he went at Australia without fear. Intent had been announced with a slog-sweep off Smith and Nannes was then deposited in a similar area for a maximum, before being scooped over fine leg.

A glorious, brief peak came in Mitchell Johnson's 18th over, in which Umar, with all the arrogance of youth, pulled and slog-swept three sixes. A second consecutive fifty came in between the carnage. Even the generally meek Khalid Latif was bitten by this bug, a useful six-ball cameo ensuring that Pakistan pumped it to the end. Australia looked mostly shocked at such impudence, bowling wides, fumbling byes and overthrows.

When Hussey finished it less than two hours later, they were still shocked, only in a very different way.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Raja Naeem on January 17, 2016, 16:27 GMT

    Best wishes lucky enough for stop them

  • zia on May 21, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    I think pakistan played really well in the sami final and they were just not lucky enough to win it. Afridi is a new captain and will learn to deal with the pressure.He must continue to lead pakistan and we must provide our support.And guys don't forget"every dog has it's own day" and mike hussey was that dog.

  • naeem on May 20, 2010, 0:04 GMT

    Well played pakistan.I must say that Australians know only pakistan could give them that kind of scare.Saeed ajmal you are still a match have a long way to go and we know that you can win alot of games for guys played good cricket WELL DONE TEAM PAKISTAN.

  • n on May 18, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    Victory and defeat are part of the game. None of the team in the world has won all the matches or lost all of them. What matters is ?

    Wheather competition was tough?. Did both teams gave their 100 percent? Did coaches prepared their game plan well? Did players played as a unit? Did captains acted according to their game palns?

    Answer to first three is affirmative, however the last one is a moot question. Clarke was never able to stop Pakistanis slogging on all four side of wickets especially from Umar Akmal. His Plan B never worked. On the other hand Afridi fought well untill the eighteenth over, however his body actions revealed at this stage that match is slipping out of his hand, and even cameraman showed him nail bitting at this stage.Moreover he failed to bring his plan B , neither he was tipped from sidelines.Rather coach was holding his head with both hands. This is the difference between an experienced captain, and well trained professional coach.

  • amjad on May 17, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    Please I will request PCB to pay attention to this semifinal.Afridi is good cricketer but not good captain, U have watched final between ENG & AUS. Same Batsman and only can get 6 runs in last over.Very bad decision by afridi to bwl last over with spinner and against left hander.Razzak was best choice to bowl last over or they can go with Samee or asif inplace of Hafeez

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2010, 2:54 GMT



  • mohammed talib on May 16, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    england thump the ozzies and win the cup.Pakistan could have easily beaten the aussies if afridi had used his brain and given the last 2 overs to Razzaq and amir.The felding was poor as well giving2 runs rather than a single.This is exactly how they played in sydney in winter.they need to bring back younis and get rid of afridi he is no good captain. and to all the indians you are crap even though u have ipl.

  • Dummy4 on May 16, 2010, 19:40 GMT

    I think its a lesson for pakistani team whoever the captain in future .. never give last over to the spinner, how better he is ... because i remember saqlain mushtaq last over against india in pakistan which he conceded 10. Also a hint for coach, that plz dont watch the match just like the crowd, do analysis and send useful hints ... hussy was all playing leg side and yet bowling on leg side .. cant understand if bowlers are taking sixes n fours why u dont discuss and apply the plan B. No doubt that there are talent in pakistan, but we need better planning, their implementation and tracking .... Good Luck for The Future

  • Jay on May 16, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    Even the dump person knew Afridi's plan, to go with Ajmal. I think leader are the one who change their game plan according to the the situation. Though, Paksitan played fantastic game. Actually, loosing with grace is when the battle is like see saw and nail biting one, but till 38 over pakistan was winning no matter what... Abdul Razzaq should be given the last or the penulitmate over. Only that would give aussies surprise...but Saeed Ajmal will bowl the last over no matter what... Well played Australia....

  • Stark on May 16, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Pak played some of their best cricket in months!!!!

    But I guess the one tiny difference this year was that Umar Gul (The best T20 bowler) was missing and that made a massive difference.

    Just imagine if he was bowling the last over!!!!

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