THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Australia reached the World Twenty20 semifinals despite a 32-run loss to Pakistan in the Super Eights on Tuesday.
Pakistan scored 149-6 off its 20 overs but Australia gave up chasing the win after feared openers Shane Watson and David Warner were dismissed for 8 each.
Instead, Australia went after the 112 runs it needed to seal a place in the last four, and finally got there when Mike Hussey hit a boundary off fast bowler Umar Gul to start the last over.
Australia ended up on 117-7, suffering its first loss in the tournament. Pakistan’s semifinal fate was decided in the last Super Eights match, ultimately going through when India failed to convincingly beat already-eliminated South Africa. India won by one run but was knocked out of the tournament because of an inferior run-rate.
"Pakistan completely outplayed us," Australia captain George Bailey said, "but it’s a three-phase tournament and we’re in phase three (semifinals).
"To this point we’ve been really consistent and the challenge will be to get that form back in the semifinals."
Pakistan opened its bowling with spinners and continued to attack with spin for 18 overs with their premier seamer Gul getting just two.
"I don’t think it’s any great secret that we have some deficiencies at times against spin and that probably showed tonight," Bailey said.
"Tactically very astute game from them to bowl spin till the 18th over, I don’t know if that’s happened in any Twenty20 game before."
Left-armer Raza Hassan gave the in-form Watson his first single-digit score in the tournament with the total on 15. Watson has been in imperious form with three half centuries and an unbeaten 41.
Hafeez entered the fray with his offspin and dismissed Warner lbw to reduce Australia to 19-2 after five overs.
Australia could not recover as the spinners made them work hard for runs. With Watson and Warner virtually winning matches with the bat for Australia, its unexposed middle and low order faltered under pressure.
"It’s a great effort by the bowlers. We got the total we wanted today, and then I think spinners did a great job," said Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez.
Hussey made a determined 54 not out off 47 deliveries including a six and four boundaries on a slow R Premadasa Stadium pitch that did not favour stroke play.
Hasan finished with a career best 2-14 off his four overs, surpassing his previous best of 2-15 also against Australia before this tournament. Offspin bowler Saeed Ajmal returned the best bowling figures with 3-17 while Hafeez also took two wickets.
Hasan was named player of the match for providing an impressive start.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Nasir Jamshed made 55 off 46 deliveries and shared 79 runs with Kamran Akmal for the third wicket to lift Pakistan to a decent score after being 29-2.
Jamshed hit two sixes and four boundaries while Akmal scored 32 runs. Australia’s left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc took 3-20.