Mauka mauka mauka mauka, ho rabba kab aayega mauka mauka… Well, we all have the answer now. Pakistan will have to wait 4 years for another mauka.
Pakistan were dismissed for just 213 after winning the toss, with Haris Sohail top-scoring with 41 while skipper Misbah-ul-Haq made 34. Josh Hazlewood stood out with a four-wicket haul as Australia’s disciplined bowlers strangled Pakistan with a thoroughly commanding performance.
Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc (2/40) kept it tight to begin with before Mitchell Johnson (1/42) intimidated the Pakistanis with his ferocious pace. The pressure exerted early on brought the desired result quite quickly as the in-form Sarfraz Ahmed (10) departed after trying to find his rhythm for 16 deliveries. The opener struck one four before edging a tough grab to Shane Watson in the slip region.
The failure to get a good start hurt Pakistan badly as the middle order batsmen failed to get going barring Haris Sohail, who notched up a 57-ball 41 laced with four hits to the fence. The ever-reliant Misbah-ul-Haq could not build on the start and was dismissed by Glenn Maxwell while attempting a slog-sweep that was caught by Aaron Finch. Misbah’s 34 runs came off 59 balls and included one four and two sixes, both coming off Maxwell’s bowling.
Five down for 126 in less than 30 overs, Pakistan looked in deep trouble when Shahid Afridi raised hopes with some early power-hitting. Afridi was dismissed while trying to smack Hazlewood out of the park, holing out to Aaron Finch after adding 23 runs that came off 15 deliveries and included three fours and a lofty six off Johnson.
With the top half letting the team down, the lower order was never expected to hold up for too long and this is exactly what happened with Hazlewood and Starc cleaning up the tail.
Australia’s chase was not off to a very smooth start with opener Aaron Finch departing in the third over after contributing just 2 runs. David Warner blitzkrieg also ended pretty quickly after the dasher had made 24 off 23 deliveries, including three fours.
Wahab Riaz bowled with aggression and passion, unsettling the Aussies with not just his deliveries but also with occasional glares and constant chirps, which irked the batsmen and invited jeers from the packed crowd. Riaz could well have pulled off three wickets in the opening spell had Rahat Ali held on to a dolly in the 17th over when Watson was on just 4 runs. He eventually finished with figures of 2/54 from nine overs.
Australians were poised rather precariously at 59 for three after skipper Michael Clarke (8) failed to click. Steve Smith top-scored for the Aussies with a 69-ball 65 knock, which was studded with seven fours, while all-rounder Shane Watson survived early jitters to carefully craft an unbeaten 66-ball 64, including seven fours and a six.
Smith was adjudged LBW off Ehsan Adil and despite being unconvinced by the decision, the batsman had to trudge off the field as Australia had exhausted their lone review by that stage. His fall did raise hopes of a Pakistan revival but they again let the opportunity slip when Sohail Khan dropped Maxwell’s miscued shot, once again leaving Riaz in agony.
However, Smith and Watson shared 89 runs for the fourth wicket to steer Australia out of trouble before Glenn Maxwell (44 not out) guided them to victory in 33.5 overs.
So, now its confirmed! A clash of Aussies and Indians at SCG, the home of Cricket, semi-final of the ICC CWC15. The last time when they played in a world cup practice match, Australia won comfortably. In fact, India didn’t taste a single win in the Test series and Tri series played against Australia before the world cup. But, underestimating the Blue Guns will be suicidal for Aussies. This Indian team is hungry and roaring at the world, “We Won’t Give It Back”…