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Aussies to face Windies in semi

Barry Wilkinson in Sri Lanka

Aussies to face Windies in semi

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COLOMBO – Their opening round encounter was unfinished, but West Indies and Australia are now set for a rematch, this time in the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20.
Pakistan brought the Aussies down to earth with a humbling 32-run defeat, while India and South Africa bowed out despite an exciting duel as the Super Eights ended last night at the packed Premadasa Stadium.
When the dust settled, Australia (+0.464) and Pakistan (+0.273) finished with four points and qualified from Group 2 with the best net run rates, joining Sri Lanka and West Indies, the two teams from Group 1, and confirming that an Asian team would be in the final.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan will get the ball rolling tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern Caribbean Time), while the West Indies and Australia play on Friday at the same time – both matches and Sunday’s final at the Premadasa Stadium.
Australia showed some vulnerability to slow bowling when they fell to Pakistan on a track that was a spinners’ paradise.
Sensing the conditions, Australia inserted the Pakistanis who wobbled early on 29 for two, but regained their composure compliments of a 79-run stand between 22-year-old Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal to take the total to 149 for six in 20 overs.
Jamshed took his tally of runs to 144, the same as Sri Lanka’s Tilakaratne Dilshan and Chris Gayle – both of whom will be in the semis – when he top scored with 55 from 46 balls.
Akmal rode his luck with 32 from 26, but most important, he provided Jamshed with the support to make a respectable total as left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc threatened to steal the show with three for 20.
Shane Watson is the leading wicket-taker and run scorer in the tournament, but for the first time, he and his pugnacious partner Dave Warner failed.
The pair made eight each and besides a controlled, unbeaten 54 from Mike Hussey, Australia’s middle order looked fragile and untested.
Off spinners Saeed Ajmal, captain Mohammed Hafeez and slow left-arm orthodox Raza Hasan choked the Aussies free-hitting style. They accounted for all seven wickets and Australia limped to 117 in 20 overs and their first defeat.
“Kudos to Pakistan, they got it right today but it was a wake-up call at the right time,” captain George Bailey told MIDWEEKSPORT.
“It looks like [we’ve] now got the West Indies and that will be an exciting clash. They play best when they are confident and I know their victory [Monday] would have them on a high.
“They are dangerous when they are confident, to be honest, but we will be ready when we have to face them,” he said.
The only way India could oust them was by beating South Africa and improving their net run rate.
After India made 152 for six in 20 overs, they had to limit the Proteas to 121 or fewer in order to supersede Pakistan.
It never materialized. Even though it was an exciting match, it became academic, and India won by one run in the end.