James Faulkner produced Australia's maiden T20I five-for to help his side beat Pakistan by 21 runs in their World T20 match played in Mohali on Friday.
Australia's win ousts Pakistan from the competition, after they managed just one win from four matches. Australia will now face India on March 27 for a place in the semi-finals. Australia, like India, lost their first match of the competition to New Zealand. Captain Steven Smith won the toss, on Friday, in the must-win match against Pakistan, and opted to bat first, in conditions that suited the batsmen.
His openers, Usman Khwaja and Aaron Finch, gave their side a strong start and added 28 runs in the first four overs, before Khawaja departed for a 16-ball 21. David Warner's dismissal two-overs later gave Pakistan hope of restricting their opponents to a manageable total, but they were wrong, as Australia's strong middle-order comprising of Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Shane Watson stepped on the gas.
Maxwell thumped an 18-ball 30, before Smith and Watson came together in the 14th over, with Australia at 119 for four. The duo added 74 runs in the seven overs they batted together. The 135 runs accumulated by number four, five and six in this match, is the joint third highest for a team in a T20I innings. The middle-order heroics helped Australia post a sizeable 193, which is their second highest total in World T20s.
Pakistan lost opener, Ahmed Shehzad, in the third over for just one. Sharjeel Khan refused to let Australia's attack dictate terms to him and raced to 30 from 19 balls, before Faulkner breached his defences in the sixth over.
Khalid Latif and Umar Akmal then dropped anchor and began rebuilding the innings with a 45-run stand for the third wicket. Nathan Counter-Nile was the bowler they chose to attack, and at 85 for two in 11th over, Pakistan hoped for a later-over flurry to help them register their second win.
But they were wrong, as Adam Zampa accounted for Akmal and Captain Shahid Afridi three-overs apart. The collapse and an ever-increasing required rate, prompted panic in Pakistan's ranks.
Faulkner took advantage of the uncertainty and claimed four-more wickets. He dismissed Latif, Imad Wasim, Sarfraz Ahmed and Wahab Riaz to help his side to their second win of the tournament.
"I was lucky there at the end. More importantly, we are back on track," Faulkner, who accepted his maiden Man-of-the-Match award in T20I, said. "We have played well all summer back home. We showed what we can do with the bat. Looking forward to the next game against India, who are a tough opponent at home. We should be up for the challenge."