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Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Australia beat Pakistan in thrilling Twenty20 match

Twenty20 international, Melbourne:
Australia 127 (18.4 ovs) beat Pakistan 125-9 by two runs
Match scorecard

Australia have captured four trophies out of four in their summer so far

Australia made it nine wins out of nine in all formats of Pakistan's tour with a two-run victory in a thrilling Twenty20 international in Melbourne.

David Hussey struck two sixes in an unbeaten 40 but Australia wasted eight balls as they were all out for 128.

Shaun Tait then bowled the fastest ball ever recorded in Australia, 160.7km/h, and Pakistan were reeling on 10-2.

Kamran Akmal fired seven fours and two sixes in a stunning 64 off 33 balls but Tait took 3-13 in Pakistan's 125-9.

It was a fine performance in the field from Pakistan, who looked thoroughly revitalised having been whitewashed 3-0 in the Test matches and 5-0 in the one-day series and seen their star all-rounder Shahid Afridi banned for biting the ball.

But having been skittled out in the penultimate over Australia eclipsed Pakistan's effort, Tait striking terror into the batsmen with a fearsome spell.

After Imran Nazir was run out by a Mitchell Johnson direct hit Imran Farhat edged Tait to Shane Watson at first slip, standing so far back it could almost have been termed third man.

Tait's delivery in his opening over was the third fastest ever recorded - measured at 99.85mph, behind Brett Lee's 160.9km/h (99.98mph) and Shoaib Akhtar's 161.3 (100.23mph), which were both at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

Pakistan seemed set to fold, but they were reprieved superbly by Kamran, who was dropped during the Test series after a difficult time as wicketkeeper.

The 28-year-old turned the match around with some spectacular hitting, both down the ground and when seizing on anything short to pull or cut square.

He blasted 19 of the 20 that came in Johnson's first over and the requirement became 84 from 84 balls with seven wickets in hand.


Though Shane Watson produced a wicket maiden, Akmal kept up the momentum with a brilliant pull to bring up the 50 in the eighth over, slicing a late cut for four more next ball.

Michael Clarke was forced to bring back Tait in a bid to remove Kamran, but it was Shoaib Malik who departed, chipping to mid-wicket, bringing Umar out to join his brother.

Kamran completed fifty in fitting style with a lofted pull for six off Dirk Nannes and threaded a four over cover and between the deep fielders for four more off the leg-spin of 20-year-old debutant Steve Smith in the next over.

He was reprieved on 63 by Johnson spilling a catch in the deep, but from the first ball of Tait's final over, with his side on 98-4, he drove straight to mid-on and 35 were needed from the final 30 balls.

Smith was brought back and he lured left-hander Fawad into an edge to slip, while Johnson atoned with a maiden in the 17th over, striking Naved a nasty blow in the windpipe in the process.

When Smith drew Rana Naved out of his crease it looked all over for Pakistan but Gul drove his first ball over long-on for six and with 12 balls left 12 runs were required.

Kamran Akmal
Kamran's stunning hitting looked to have won the match for Pakistan

Umar Gul was bowled by Nannes having moved completely across his stumps, 10 were needed from the final over, bowled by Watson, which became six from the final ball, and though Mohammad Asif hit it for four Pakistan saw another match slip away.

However, though the result was another victory for Australia, Pakistan did at least show greater fight from the moment they saw Clarke win the toss and choose to bat.

But Umar set the tone, haring after a ball in the outfield to beat Watson's quest for a third run in the second over.

Australia's bludgeoning left-handed opener David Warner duly swiped Mohammad Asif for a mammoth six, but was soon caught at deep point.

Clarke, who slipped over playing to leg first ball, quickly compiled 32 in assured fashion before smashing one to backward point where Fawad showed admirable nerve and reflexes to hold the rocket-like shot at head height.

Gul thought he had Cameron White caught when the ball looped to backward point, but Fawad Alam made sure with a brilliant direct hit that saw the all-rounder out of his crease.

Two balls later debutant Travis Birt, a Tasmania left-hander, was bowled trying to paddle one and in the same over Shoaib Malik fired a wide down the legside and Kamran produced a stunning stumping to remove Brad Haddin.

In the 14th over New South Welshman Smith hit over extra cover for four and Hussey lofted over wide long-on for six.

Smith was bowled by an ingenious slower ball googly from Naved and after one more six over long-on from Hussey the innings ended when Tait spooned to Fawad.

With a well below-average total on the board the Australians were in danger of a first home Twenty20 defeat but yet again they showed their powers of resilience.

Unaware of his new record, man-of-the-match Tait said: "I kept my pace right through the night. I'm not sure how those other two blokes bowled quicker, I almost killed myself out there.

"I was a bit scratchy in the other games so it was good to get it together."

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see also
In pictures: Australia v Pakistan
05 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Banned Afridi replaced by Malik
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Australia seal one-day whitewash
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Rampant Harris destroys Pakistan
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Harris seals Australia series win
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Dominant Aussies crush Pakistan
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White century seals Australia win
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Australia seal whitewash success
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Pakistan in Australia 2009-10
05 Feb 10 |  Cricket

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