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Michael Hussey powers Australia to final

Last updated on: May 15, 2010 01:50 IST


Johnson and Hussey after the winning runs are scoredMichael Hussey powered Australia to a surprising three-wicket win over defending champions Pakistan in the second semi-final of the World T20 at the Beausejour Stadium in Gros Islet (St Lucia) on Friday.

The win, their sixth on the trot in the tournament, ensured the team from Down Under a match-up with England in the final, the latter having booked their berth a day earlier at the expense of Sri Lanka.

Chasing a mammoth 192, the Australians were eventually home at 197 for seven, winning with a ball to spare.

Having allowed Pakistan to dictate the game for most of the match, the Aussies finished proceedings with characteristic elan -- a quality that has made them the most dominant side in world cricket (if not the most lucrative).

The ever-reliable Hussey scored a spectacular 60 not out, his 24-ball knock inclusive of three hits to the fence and six huge hits over it, the southpaw almost single-handely carrying his team home.

It was an uncharacteristic but timely innings that undid all the damage Australia had done with the ball and the bat eralier in the day.

The eighth-wicket partnership -- also involving Mitchell Johnson (five not out) -- yielded Australia a whopping 53 runs off just 16 balls -- with Hussey contributing 44 -- and took them home.

Cameron White also contributed with a 31-ball 43 to keep Australia in the hunt after a terrible start that witnessed no significant contribution from the top order.

Australia's come-from-behind win maintained their recent stranglehold over Pakistan -- the latter having lost all matches, in every format, against the team from Down Under -- stretching to more than six months.

There were a whopping 14 sixes in the Australian innings -- a clear indication of how desperate were the Aussies to make the final of the only tournament they are yet to win, the only trophy they are left to add to their overflowing cabinet.

Pakistan are the only side in the fledgling tournament's history to have reached at least the semi-final of all the three editions - having lost the inaugural final to India in 2007 and beaten Sri Lanka last year to win in the title.

However, they failed in their bid to make it a third straight final.

Australia got off to a disastrous start when David Warner (0) hit the second ball of the innings -- bowled by Mohammed Aamer straight to Umar Akmal at backward point.

Shane Watson (16) eased the pressure first with a boundary off Aamer followed by maximum off Abdul Razaaq, both the shots directed towards the midwicket.

Brad Haddin (25) joined the party as well in Razzaq's over with two boundaries in the three deliveries, the first through cover and the second between the bowler and the mid-off.

Watson smashed the first ball of the third over straight past the bowler for yet another boundary before Aamer struck back two balls later, having the batsman caught by Abdur Rahman at long-on.

Australia had thus lost both their openers inside the first three overs and had a mountain to climb.

In came captain Michael Clarke (17) and he started with two sweetly-timed boundaries.

Haddin welcomed spinner Abdur Rehman with a six over the backward square leg boundary.

However, the spinner had the last laugh when he had Haddin stumped in his second over.

Shahid Afridi accounted for his Australian counterpart in the next over to further compound Australia's woes.

David Hussey (13) and Cameron White (43) put on 43 runs (off just 25 balls) for the fifth wicket to stabilise the Australian innings to an extent.

White hit successive sixes off Afridi and yet another one over cover boundary off Mohammad Hafeez.

Hussey also hoisted Hafeez long-off for a maximum but perished in his bid to accelerate, hitting a Rehman delivery straight back to the bowler. 

Australia needed 70 off their final five overs with five wickets left -- being 122 for five as opposed to Pakistan's 118 for three at that stage.

However, the dismissal of White in the 17th over -- caught by Hafeez at long-off -- almost ended all hopes of an improbable win.

White's entertaining 31-ball knock was inclusive of five huge hits to the fence.

Ajmal had Steven Smith (5) stumped in the 18th over but Hussey kept Australia in the hunt till the very last over, first smashing a maximum over backward square-leg boundary off Ajmal and then taking 16 runs off the penultimate over .

Australia needed 18 off the final over -- to be bowled by Ajmal.

And in what was a commanding batting display in the final over, Hussey smashed 22 runs off four balls to take his team home.

The sequence read 6, 6, 4, 6 and Australia were through to the final with a ball to spare.

Earlier, Kamran Akmal (50) gave Pakistan a solid start while his younger brother, Umar (56), ensured them a perfect finish.

The defending champions put up a mammoth 191 for six in their stipulated 20 overs, the second highest total thus far in the tournament.

Umar remained unbeaten, his 35-ball knock inclusive of two hits to the fence and four huge ones over it as Pakistan scored a whopping 73 runs off their final five overs.

If the Australians had expected the holders to capitulate -- considering the latter's woeful run against them in recent times -- they were in for a shock, as Pakistan retaliated magnificently.

And that left the team from Down Under, unbeaten in five matches in the tournament, shell-shocked.

The in-form Dirk Nannes conceded no run in the opening over.

Shaun Tait's first over was a quiet one as well, but Kamran Akmal cut loose in Nannes's second over with successive boundaries, the first over cover and the second right of mid-off.

Salman Butt (32) joined the party, smashing Tait for successive boundaries in the next over, both through cover point.

Mitchell Johnson was introduced into the attack in the fifth over and Butt welcomed him with a boundary towards point.

However, just a ball before the boundary, Butt, it appeared, had edged the ball, but, surprisingly, there was no appeal.

As the field restrictions eased, Pakistan had made a calculated (and confident) start, having made 40 without loss.

The introduction of the young spinner Steven Smith into the attack in the seventh over allowed Kamran to score freely.

The right-hander first hit a boundary over backward point and followed it up with a maximum over long-off -- the first six of the Pakistan innings. The spinner's first over cost Australia 15.

Kamran helped himself to a second maximum when he cleared the first ball of Watson's second over over the bowler's head.

It was followed by successive boundaries, the second one over backward point ensuring the batsman a well-deserved half-century.

It was his fifth 50-plus score in the game's newest format. Watson's second over cost Australia a whopping 18 runs.

However, he perished soon after, hitting a Johnson delivery straight to David Warner at deep cover.

The first wicket partnership yielded Pakistan 82 runs (off 58 balls), with Kamran doing most of the damage -- his 34-ball knock was inclusive of six hits to the fence and two over it.

Butt fell two overs later, hitting a Smith delivery straight to Warner.

Captain Shahid Afridi (9) fell cheap, dismissed by David Hussey.

Clarke introduced himself into the attack in the 16th over and was left to rue the decision as his lone over cost his side 13, Khalid Latif (13) smashing a maximum over midwicket and following it up with a boundary.

Umar Akmal smashed Nannes over the long-on boundary off the first ball of the next over for maximum before scooping the next ball to the short fine-leg boundary.

Nannes, however, came back to dismiss Latif, caught by Warner at mid-off.

Johnson's final over, the 18th of the innings, cost the Aussies 24 runs, with the younger Akmal helping himself to three sixes, the third helping him reach a well-deserved half century.

However, there was just one big hit in the last two overs, courtesy Abdul Razzaq's (12) blade.

Earlier, Australia captain Michael Clarke called correctly and had no hesitation in asking Pakistan to bat first Rain delayed the start of the match.

Both the sides named an unchanged line-up.