World T20 cricket: Australia and Pakistan reach semi-finals

By Marc HigginsonBBC Sport
Pakistan cricketers
Pakistan celebrate a wicket
ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights, R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Pakistan 149-6 (20 overs) beat Australia 117-7 (20 overs) by 32 runs
Match scorecard

Australia qualified for the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 despite losing by 32 runs to Pakistan in Colombo.

Australia reached the last four on net run-rate, and Pakistan went through via the same method following India's narrow one-run victory over South Africa later on Tuesday.

Nasir Jamshed's 55 helped Pakistan to 149-6 before their spinners took over.

Saeed Ajmal claimed 3-17 and Mohammad Hafeez and Hasan Raza took two wickets each to limit Australia to 117-7.

Pakistan meet Sri Lanka in the first semi-final in Colombo on Thursday, and Australia face West Indies the following day.

Although Australia - beaten finalists in 2010 - will be pleased to reach the final four, they will need to work out a way of playing spin more successfully on turning wickets.

"Pakistan outplayed us," captain George Bailey admitted. "The ball turned a lot more than before and they used spin against us very well."

Through some sensational performances by Shane Watson, who has scored the most runs, taken the most wickets and hit the most sixes in the competition,external-link they had bludgeoned their way to a 100% record heading into the game.

However, once he was leg before to Hasan for just eight when failing to connect with a sweep, the Australia batting order suddenly looked top heavy.

It was trial by spin, with Pakistan waiting until the 18th over before using paceman Umar Gul, and David Warner fell in similar style to his opening partner as he failed to get bat on ball to Hafeez.

Only Mike Hussey looked comfortable in the middle as he expertly kept the scoreboard ticking over with his canny ability to work the ball into space for ones and twos.

Bailey was Hussey's only likely partner to overhaul the target, and when he was also trapped in front, this time by Saeed Ajmal, the Australia innings turned from a run-chase into a salvage mission.

The Aussies knew they only needed to score 112 to ensure their place in the semi-finals on net run-rate, and Hussey made sure he saw them to the target.

Ajmal was bowling with the same masterful menace and mystery which saw England slump to a 3-0 Test series defeat to Pakistan earlier this year, and when he dismissed Matthew Wade and Pat Cummins in the penultimate over the game was effectively over.

Pakistan were grateful to Jamshed's classy half-century after they were put in to bat, the 22-year-old batting with style and intelligence to help them recover from 29-2.

He shared a 79-run partnership for the third wicket with Kamran Akmal (32) before Mitchell Starc, who impressed with figures of 3-20, dismissed the wicketkeeper.

Some late hitting from Abdur Razzaq boosted Pakistan's total before the spinners took charge.

"It was a big game for us and we needed to be at our best against a side like Australia," said Hafeez. "Raza Hasan was brilliant - a great find for us."