Shaun Tait bowls Australia to a thrilling win
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Scorecard:Australia v Pakistan
Player:DJ Hussey, Kamran Akmal, SW Tait
Event:Pakistan in Australia 2009/10

DateLine: 5th February 2010


Pakistan will return from their Australian tour empty handed as they failed to overhaul a modest target set by the Australian side. The pace and ferocity of Tait and co. proved too much for the Pakistani side as they succumbed to yet another morale-deflating defeat. The reigning world champions had a chance when Kamran Akmal was going great guns but once he fell the visitors were always playing the catch-up game.


Earlier Clarke had no hesitation in electing to bat first on a hard MCG track. Opener Shane Watson partnered Australia's T20 International specialist opener David Warner into the middle as the duo tried to muscle their way through. A few mishits followed from the pair before disaster struck. Watson (8, 8 balls, 1x4) was slow to respond to Warner's call for the third run and found himself just short of the crease as he was beaten by a well-directed throw from Umar Akmal in the deep. Warner (24, 14 balls, 1x6, 1x4) thumped a huge six over midwicket but he could not keep his cut shot down as he was caught at deep point. Skipper Michael Clarke (32, 26 balls, 2x4) played a busy little knock that had quick singles and doubles but his stay ended when a ferocious cut off Umar Gul was snapped up brilliantly by Fawad Alam at backward point that left the batsman stunned.


White (4, 8 balls) was run-out as he carelessly sauntered out of the crease after being struck on the shoulder. A lithe Fawad Alam sensing White's absentmindedness threw down at the stumps and found the batsman just short of the crease. With the wickets falling around David Hussey (40 not out, 2x6, 1x4) immediately put down the anchor as he rotated the strike around. Australia was strike by a double whammy as they lost Birt (1, 2 balls) and Haddin (1, 3 balls) in the 12th over bowled by the stand-in skipper Shoaib Malik and the end looked near. With no other option left Hussey opened twice depositing the ball into the stands to keep the Australian hopes of a challenging total. Debutant Steven Smith (8, 8 balls, 1x4) was cleaned by an excellent slower delivery from Naved ul Rana while Mitchell Johnson (2, 7 balls) had no answer to a lifter from a fired up Umar Gul. Nannes (4, 3 balls) was run-out and the Australian innings ended at 127 in 18.4 overs when Tait (1, 2 balls) scooped a simple catch to Fawad Alam at point.


Chasing 128 to register their first win of the tour the Pakistani openers were in for a rude shock. Shaun Tait coming back into the side for the T20 International bowled with fire and ferocity as he repeatedly breached the 150 km mark and once touched the 160 km per hour. The Pakistani openers, Farhat in particular, could rarely put the bat on the ball as the leather on more than one occasion passed the batsman in a heartbeat. Nannes not to be left behind too breached the 150 km per hour mark as the openers were visibly in discomfort. Imran Nazir (0, 5 balls) was run-out by a brilliant piece of fielding by Mitchell Johnson and then Imran Farhat (8, 10 balls, 1x4) fell when he edged one to slips of a flaring Tait.


Kamran Akmal launched brilliant fightback as he biffed Nannes for a couple of boundaries to inject some momentum into th innings and then turned his attention on Mitchell Johnson. Mitchell Johnson striving for pace was off target as Akmal and Khalid Latif plundered 20 runs. Khalid Latif (6, 8 balls, 1x4) was trapped leg before by an accurate Watson. Malik (3, 11 balls) could not keep his flick down as he was taken by Birt at midwicket of Tait.


That brought together the Akmal brothers and the duo kept the host's hopes alive with a stabilising 29 runs in 5.3 overs. While Umar Akmal struggled to find the gaps, Kamran Akmal looked fluent in the middle. Clarke turned to his quickest bowler on the field and Tait did not let his captain down. The right arm fast bowler terminated Akmal's stay as the keeeper batsman lobbed one straight to Hussey at mid-on. Akmal scored a stunning 64 in 33 balls and with him went the Pakistani momentum. Fawad Alam (1, 5 balls) was snapped up at the slips of an impressive leg-spinner Steven Smith and Naved ul Hasan (1, 9 balls) was stumped as the Pakistani innings slipped.


Just when it seemed that the fight had disappeared from the Pakistani side new man in Umar Gul launched Steven Smith into the stands off the first ball he faced thus reducing the target to run a ball. Nannes then proceeded to bowl a stupendous penultimate over in which he conceeded just a couple of runs and took the wicket of Umar Gul (10, 9 balls, 1x6). With ten needed to get in the final six balls Umar Akmal (21, 24 balls) smashed one straight down to the throat of David Warner at long on as Pakistani side pressed the panic button. Saeed Ajmal (2 not out, 3 balls) and Mohammad Asif (5 not out, 2 balls, 1x4) with their limited ability with the bat tried to get the visitors across the line but failed by three runs.


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