Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Aussies in WCup semis

Published:Saturday | March 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Australia’s Josh Hazlewood celebrates after taking the wicket of Pakistan’s Ahmad Shahzad during their Cricket World Cup quarter-final match in Adelaide, Australia, yesterday.

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP):

Shane Watson made the most of a lucky break to guide Australia to a six-wicket win over Pakistan in the World Cup quarter-finals yesterday, setting up a semi-final showdown with defending champions India.

Pakistan won the toss and batted at the Adelaide Oval but were all out for 213 in the 50th over, with paceman Josh Hazlewood taking 4-35 to justify his selection recall for Australia.

The Australians lost early wickets and withstood a torrid spell from Wahab Riaz (2-54) in the middle of the chase before all-rounder Watson hit the winning runs with a boundary to lift his score to 64 and Australia's to 216-4 in the 34th over.

Riaz was desperately unlucky to have two catches put down, especially Watson on four. At that point, Australia were 83-3, Riaz was firing at 150 kph, and the allrounder was shaky.

'extremely happy'

Watson weathered Riaz and forged an 89-run fourth-wicket stand with Steve Smith (65) and an unbeaten 68-run stand with Glenn Maxwell (44 not out), who was also dropped early in his innings off Riaz.

"Extremely happy, a close game in the end. The way Shane Watson hung in there was fantastic," Australia captain Michael Clarke said. "That's the pressure of the finals. You're under the pressure all the time, whether with the bat, in the field, or with the ball."

It was a disappointing end for Pakistan veterans Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi, who were set to retire from one-day cricket after the World Cup.

batting let down

Misbah said batting let his team down again, as it did in the opening losses to India and West Indies before Pakistan rallied to win four straight pool matches to qualify for the knockout stage.

Riaz's bowling was the highlight of the game for the 1992 champions. Misbah vowed his attack, without the injured Mohammad Irfan, wouldn't be intimidated by the Australian batsmen and would match aggression with aggression.

"He bowled his heart out; he's been a totally different bowler throughout this tournament. I've never seen spells like that," Misbah said of Riaz.

Left-armer Riaz delivered, removing David Warner (24) in the ninth over, and Clarke (8) in the 11th. He greeted Watson with perfectly directed short-pitch deliveries and glares.

After ducking and weaving for a couple of overs, Watson hooked Riaz to Rahat Ali, who put down a regulation chance at deep fine leg at 83-3. It was a genuine game-changer, with Watson and Smith combining to steer Australia back on course for the win.