Pakistan, Australia Advance to World Cricket Semifinals
In the final match of the Super Eight phase in Colombo last night, South Africa was all out for 151 with one ball left after India made 152-6 off 20 overs. The Indians had needed to hold the Proteas, who were eliminated earlier yesterday when Pakistan beat Australia by 32 runs, to fewer than 121 runs to advance.
“We didn’t know that the other match would impact our progress so much,” India captain MS Dhoni said in comments on the tournament’s website. “We knew that there would be a little bit of an impact on whether we progress, but the margin in the first match was so big that we had a problem.”
Pakistan and Australia joined tournament host Sri Lanka and West Indies in the semifinals because of a higher net run rate than India as all three teams finished Group 2 play with four points. South Africa lost all three of its Super Eight matches.
Sri Lanka and West Indies qualified two days ago as defending champion England was eliminated. Sri Lanka faces Pakistan tomorrow before Australia, the bookmakers’ favorite to win the fourth world championship of cricket’s shortest format, plays West Indies a day later. The final is scheduled Oct. 7.
Faf du Plessis top scored with 65 runs last night as South Africa reached the 121-run mark in the 17th over. It then lost four wickets and looked to have no chance before Morne Morkel’s six closed the gap to one run with two balls remaining.
Lakshmipathy Balaji, who claimed 3-37, bowled Morkel with the next delivery to end the game. Zaheer Khan also took three wickets, while Suresh Raina led India’s batsmen with 45 runs.
“We haven’t clicked in all departments,” Dhoni added. “We’ve bowled brilliant in batches, and batted brilliant in batches, but when you play the top sides you have to do well in all three departments.”
Australia advanced to the final four by scoring 112 runs even after falling to its first defeat at the tournament.
The Australians tallied 117-7 chasing the victory target of 150 as Saeed Ajmal took 3-17 and fellow spinner Raza Hasan claimed 2-14 to help 2009 champion Pakistan secure the victory.
“It was a great blessing to win with a big margin,” Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said in comments on the tournament’s website. “It was a great effort by the bowlers.”
Pakistan earlier posted 149-6 as Nasir Jamshed top scored with 55 runs. He combined with Kamran Akmal for 79 to help their team recover from 29-2 in the sixth over. Mitchell Starc took 3- 20 after Australia won the toss and elected to field.
“Pakistan totally outplayed us,” Australia captain George Bailey said. “To this point, we’ve been terribly consistent and the goal is to get back to that point.”
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