2009 champions Pakistan make an exit after 21-run loss to Steve Smith’s Australia at Mohali; Faulkner on fire with five
Mohali: March 25 is when Pakistan cricket witnessed its finest hour by clinching the 1992 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was a triumph marked by superlative leadership from Imran Khan.
Australia’s Aaron Finch shakes hands with Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik at the completion of yesterday’s game at the Punjab Cricket Association ground in Mohali. Pic/AFP
March 25 will also be viewed as a low point when Shahid Afridi & Co crashed out of the 2016 ICC World T20 through a 21-run loss to Australia at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Friday.
Indeed, Pakistan cricket plummeted to a new low as Afridi’s team needed a win against Australia to keep their hopes of qualifying for the semi-final alive.
Friday's result means Sunday’s India versus Australia clash here is a knockout match to qualify for the semi-final.
Nothing went right for Pakistan on Friday. The bowlers leaked 193 runs and claimed only four Australian wickets.
The batsmen again failed to capitalise on a rollicking start provided by opener Sharjeel Khan (19-ball 30). While Khalid Latif took 41 balls to score his 46, Shoaib Malik took 20 balls to remain unbeaten on 40. The two contrasting knocks hurt Pakistan. There was no miracle from Afridi as well (7-ball 11) as a result, Pakistan never really looked like coming close to the asking rate that soared with each dot ball.
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis was disappointed with the bowlers conceding more runs than expected. “We made some mistakes while bowling. We gave away too many runs in the last few overs. In fact, if you see, whenever we got wickets, we gave away a boundary or two and that’s where we lost the plot.
"If we had been able to control, the score would not have been 193. I think we have a better bowling attack than this. The bowling was totally off the plan and that cost us the match," a dejected Waqar said.
Waqar talks tough
"Earlier, we had match-winners like Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez, who could bowl. Yes, I would say that Pakistan cricket is in a bit of a decline and we need to control it. We will have to look at our domestic cricket and infrastructure," said Waqar, who is uncertain of retaining his position.
Australia, meanwhile, were clinical to say the least. From making the right call to bat, they were near-perfect in the field and the bowlers maintained the pressure constantly.
Watto, Smith show
Skipper Steven Smith (43-ball 61 not out) stitched a 62-run fourth wicket partnership with Glenn Maxwell (30) and an unbeaten 74-run fifth wicket partnership with Shane Watson (44 not out).
Pace bowler James Faulkner claimed 5-27 in his four overs – the best figures for Australia in T20Is.
Australia 193-4 in 20 overs (S Smith 61*, S Watson 44*; W Riaz 2-35, I Wasim 2-31) beat Pakistan 172-8 in 20 overs (K Latif 46, Shoaib Malik 40*; James Faulkner 5-27, Adam Zampa 2-32) by 21 runs