Australia stomp out Pak, set up semis clash with India

March 20, 2015 | 04:59 PM | 85 Views

Steven Smith(65) and Shane Watson(64) scored fifty apiece to help Australia survive early scare and beat Pakistan by six wickets in the third quarterfinal of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. Josh Hazlewood stood out with a four-wicket haul as Australia's disciplined bowlers strangled Pakistan with a thoroughly commanding performance, skittling them out for 213 .  Electing to bat after winning the toss, Pakistan were stifled for runs by the Aussie bowlers and folded without putting up much of a fight in 49.5 overs. Josh Hazlewood (4/35) 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.  Sarfraz's opening partner Ahmed Shehzad did not last long either and was also caught in the slips by Australian captain Michael Clarke off Hazlewood's bowling. The score read 24 for two at this stage.  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 today and was dismissed by Glenn Maxwell while attempting a slog-sweep that was caught by Aaron Finch. His 34 runs came off 59 balls and included one four and two sixes, both coming off Maxwell's bowling. 

                                                                       Interestingly,the veteran had earlier been saved by the bail which did not come off despite Hazlewood breaching his defences to hit the stumps.  The procession back to the pavillion continued when Umar Akmal (20 off 25 balls) was caught by Finch off Maxwell again.  Five down for 126 in less than 30 overs, Pakistan looked in deep trouble when Shahid Afridi raised hopes with some early power-hitting. However, the temperamental all-rounder also went back to pavillion after playing one of his now trademark cameos, which entertained while it lasted but did not help the team's cause much.   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. al of the ICC Cricket World Cup here today.

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