|Ground:||Dubai Sports City Stadium, Dubai|
|Scorecard:||Pakistan v Australia|
|Event:||Australia in United Arab Emirates 2012|
Australia in UAE 2012 (Pakistan) 1st T20 Match Report
Pakistan emerged with a comprehensive win over Australia in the 1st of a 3-match T20 Series being played in Dubai. After winning the toss, Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez, cleverly elected to field first keeping in mind that the dew factor may come handy as the match goes into the night.
The Aussies were crushed by seven-wickets in Dubai after crashing to their second lowest ever total of 89 on the opening match of the T20 series. When it came their turn to bat, Pakistan benefited from Kamran Akmals unbeaten 31 and took less than fifteen overs to reach the total losing 3 wickets and 31 balls to spare. It was Australias worst defeat in terms of the number of remaining overs.
Only three Aussie batsmen David Warner (22), Cameron White (15) and Bailey (14) managed to reach double figures, in an Australian innings which included only 3 boundaries and no sixes. Australia's long batting line-up was unravelled by Pakistan's spin attack. Although Pakistan lost three wickets in the chase they were never in danger of losing. The one and only six of the match was hit by Kamran Akmal on the way to a record-breaking win against Australia.
Statistics don't always mean much in T20 but the story of this match could be summed up with a few numbers. It was the first time after another loss to Pakistan in Dubai in May 2009 when Australia failed to hit a six in a T20 innings. The only time Australia scored fewer runs in a completed T20 innings was 79 against England in Southampton in 2005, back when the IPL was not even a glimmer in Lalit Modi's eye. Never before had a team beaten Australia with so many balls to spare.
Sohail Tanvir took 3 for 13 but it was the work of the spin wizards again as Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and the debutant Raza Hasan which kept Australia at bay from posting a fighting total on the board. They picked up two wickets each with regular breakthroughs. The larger Dubai Stadium boundaries also helped starve the Australians' scoring.
The newcomer Raza Hasan's intelliget spell with a lot of variation in the deliveries augurs well for him to become a 'legal calibre weapon' at the International level. Australians found Ajmal as difficult as ever to pick while Mohammad Hafeez kept his line tidy and made their work hard. Most surprisingly, Lo and behold, Pakistan also held their catches for once, unlike their performance in the 3rd ODI. The combined efforts of Pakistan's fierce bowling attack meant that they restricted an eight-batsmen side to a paltry 89, something not seen very often.
When Pakistan came out to bat, Australia's bowlers had nothing substantial to defend and their cause was hopeless from the start. Hafeez and Imran Nazir, playing his first international for two and a half years, gave Pakistan a solid start with a 30-run opening stand. They were both pretty comfortable finding boundaries and Nazir was confident against the Australian bowlers, albeit the pressure was a little less.
In the end, Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik saw Pakistan home. Akmal hit more boundaries on his own than the Australians.
It was an ideal starting performance by Pakistan. The Aussies defeat may result in relegation in ICC's T20I rankings for the four-time World Cup winners. In case Pakistan can spring a clean sweep, Australia would fall below Ireland (10th), ahead of the mega-event on Sep 18th.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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